Water quality Water softener

Published on June 20th, 2018 | by Henri

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Disposing of water-softener brine

Q.  Seeking your advice on how to safely and effectively dispose of water-softener brine after regeneration. Initially brine was plumbed through the septic system. Due to the very high mineral count of my water and deterioration of concrete tanks the brine is now directed to the exterior house foundation drain to daylight. Do you think that this is good solution? What alternatives would you suggest. Thank you.

A.  Discharging brine into a septic system is not a good idea in the first place, as it can negatively affect its functioning. This discussion is too long to deal with in this space.

Surface discharge of brine is an acceptable practice, but it will kill vegetation it comes in contact with, so is it acceptable to you? It also must be done in a way that will not affect your well or your neighbors’, as the discharge of brine can also affect ground water under certain circumstances. A distance of a minimum of 100 feet from any water source and wells is recommended, and the discharge should be downhill from these sources as much as possible.

I am concerned that the way you are discharging it now, the salt in the brine may come in contact with the masonry foundation, be it concrete blocks or poured concrete, and eventually damage it. It would be best to discharge the brine through its own PVC pipe system to daylight or other means.

There are several alternatives. If there is a place on your land to build a small storage pond, you can discharge the brine into it through a PVC pipe and let the water evaporate. This will avoid killing vegetation onto which the brine is otherwise discharged. You can also discharge it to a drywell, but be sure that the drywell is sized properly.

You can collect and save the brine to spray on your driveway in the winter to deal with ice. In the summer, it can be sprayed on gravel driveways to keep the dust under control, and it can also be sprayed on weeds during the growing season to kill them.

Another possible application is to drain the brine into a bucket through a cloth to collect the salt and put the salt in a plastic bucket in the woods for deer to lick it during the winter when they need it most.

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