WQA (Water Quality Association) is highlighting a recent independent study, which found that water softeners – when set with appropriate salt efficiency – do NOT harm most septic systems and actually enhance the septic tank performance. The Water Quality Research Foundation commissioned Virginia Tech in our own Blacksburg, VA, to conduct independent and scientific testing on the issue in 2012. Nearly $100,000 was invested into this 18-month study, which included many site visits and the work of numerous trained professionals. According to its authors, the study demonstrates that “efficiently operated water softeners improve septic tank performance, while the use of very inefficient home softeners may have a negative effect on solids discharge.
This 2012 study, and similar reports, point to the importance of consumers using “demand-initiated regeneration” (DIR) unit softeners to discharge the regenerate into septic fields. DIR units are the most commonly sold devices today, and are very efficiently operated in the amount of salt and water used. Replacement of older water softener models that are time-clock-dependent is encouraged to enhance the life of the septic tank and field.