A salt-based water softener system to effectively remove hard water minerals undergoes an ion exchange process involving removing magnesium ions and calcium ions and replacing them with sodium ions or potassium ions to produce softened water.
The resin beads in the resin tank are the withholding of these hard minerals and release salt into the water to produce soft water. However, there are charged by sodium chloride (salt) or potassium chloride in the brine tank.
Furthermore, when these resin beads soften water for a while, they are still particles of hard minerals trapped. To be cleaned, they must undergo a regeneration process and another ion exchange to soften water.
So, the water softener brine tank forms a backwash brine solution using high concentrations of sodium chloride or potassium chloride to clean the resin bed and remove the trapped hard minerals.
This results in backwash water containing a high concentration of salty water and hardness ions which should be drained out through the drain line to prevent it from contaminating your water supply.
The question now is, where should you discharge your water softener’s backwash?
In this article, we’ll give you the answer.
Where To Discharge Water Softener Backwash
• Floor Drain
A floor drain is a great way to drain water from your water softener out of the basement.
If you have a drain on your basement floor or the floor of your laundry room, position the hose of your water softener drain line to it, and it will send the backwash water up the drainage pipe and to your local sewage system.
However, endeavor to check the local regulations and the plumbing code of your local areas before doing this so that you don’t get in trouble.
• Laundry Tray
Also known as a laundry sink, a laundry tray functions as an air gap and can be placed under the brine tank of water softener, with the drainage hose placed directly in its tray to allow the backwash water to drain into it and not to the floor.
• Dry Well
One of the ways of effectively discharging your water softener backwash water is through dry wells.
Ensure the well’s deep hole is above the water table so that a large amount of salt water can slowly absorb and release into the ground surface for a long time.
When the backwash water is released slowly into the ground, it stops the sodium concentrations of the soil from spiking instantly.
• Sump Pump
A sump pump is connected to a drainage pipe that leads out of the house by being situated in a sump pit.
When you connect the sump pump to the drain line of your water softener and the water in the sump pit gets to a particular height, it triggers a float switch that pushes the water out through the drain pipe.
• Septic Drain Field
You can also drain the backwash water by redirecting it to the septic system.
When doing this, ensure you properly install a check valve from the water softener drain line to the septic system to prevent the backflow of water into the water treatment system.
• Sewage Ejector Pump
A sewage ejector pump is also a great method of draining backwash water as it eliminates the water directly to the sewage system while using its vents to ensure that sewage doesn’t flow back into the drain line of your water softener.
To ensure this pump lasts for a long time and doesn’t get affected by brine solution’s wastewater, make sure it is made with stainless or plastic material and is not dipped in water for a long while.
• French Drain
A french drain is similar to a dry well, with the only difference being the former’s horizontal structure and the latter’s deep hole structure.
A french drain is built with a pipe near the multi-holed ditch that allows the backwash water to leave slowly into the soil, preventing it from building up in one area and affecting the environment.
• Septic Tank
Suppose you want to discharge backwash water over a large area. In that case, you should consider using a septic tank or disconnecting your old septic tank from its outlet pipe, making small holes at its bottom, and connecting its drain to your water softener.
Where Not To Discharge Water Softener BackWash
• Near Farmlands And On The Lawn
Discharging water softener backwash water with a high concentration of salt and mineral on farmland or a lawn will destroy the vegetation and affect the growth of crops.
• Close To Other Water Sources
You should also avoid discharging the backwash water from your water softener close to or into other local water sources.
These water sources are connected to many homes, so discharging the backwash water with a high mineral and sodium content into it will lead to it increasing the salt content in the water flowing into these homes and could cause harm to the body and home appliances of those living there.
This could also be against local regulations, and you might incur a fine for it.
• Habitats For Domestic Animals
Aside from the negative impacts of salt water on plants, it can also cause harm to domestic animals.
Intake of water with high concentrations of salt by these animals can’t only affect their physical health or cause death but can also affect the consumption of its products like meat and milk.
So, ensure that where you discharge water softener backwash brine isn’t connected or close to their water supplies.
How Often Should You Discharge Your Water Softener Backwash?
The frequency of discharging your water softener depends on factors like water hardness, the amount of water used, the capacity of the resin tank, and the level of iron in the water.
The frequency of your water softener’s regeneration cycle is another factor that influences the frequency of the backwash cycle.
The modern ion exchange water softeners carry out their regeneration cycle and discharge backwash water every 1 to 3 days.
How To Use Your Water Softener’s BackWash Positively
• To Eliminate Garden Slugs
Garden slugs can cause a lot of damage to your crops and vegetation, but with backwash water, you can do away with them.
The salt content in the water makes the water on the body of garden slugs dry up and could lead to their death due to dehydration. Hence, they dread the presence of salt and salt water.
So, If you are facing garden slug issues in your vegetable garden, using backwash water will come in handy.
Just use it to wash your feet and walk around the garden with those feet. This will help to eliminate the garden slugs in no time.
• To Preserve Fishes In An Aquarium
For example, fish like salmon and eels require salt water to survive.
So, hence backwash water contains high concentrations of salt; it can be used in the aquarium that house these fishes.
• To Eliminate Bacteria
You can also use the high concentration of salt and minerals in this water to eliminate bacteria in a given area or surface.
Where to Discharge Water Softener Backwash Summary
Discharging backwash water from your water softener is a great way of maintaining and preserving it but discharging it in the wrong area will have adverse effects on the environment and the human body, so be careful where you drain water from your water softener.
The good news is this article covers many options you can choose from and discharge water softener backwash without negative environmental impacts.
We also went through where you shouldn’t discharge water softener backwash water.
So, read through it again if you feel insecure and choose the method.