Advice Please: Tying into septic

Discussion in 'Plumbing Forum, Professional & DIY Advice' started by pronoman, Feb 26, 2007.

  1. pronoman

    pronoman New Member

    Messages:
    5
    Location:
    Fuquay Varina, NC
    I have a water softener being installed and it has to be discharged into my septic tank. The drain line coming from the water softener is a flexible 1/2" PEX-type tubing, and my septic line is 4" PVC. Can someone recommend how, or direct me to where I can find out how to install this safely? Safely being, there must be some sort of trap that has to be installed in case of septic backup, right? Does anyone know of a diagram, or picture of a suggested install? Any help will be greatly appreciated!
  2. T_Hartigan

    T_Hartigan New Member

    Messages:
    35
    Location:
    Ohio
    My suggestion is to find a place other than septic to put the water.

    The less water into the system the better.
  3. TedL

    TedL New Member

    Messages:
    604
    Location:
    NY Capital District
    Is there a sink or washing machine drain anywhere nearby?
  4. Gary Slusser

    Gary Slusser That's all folks!

    You make a trap to prevent sewer gas from escaping. The trap holds water to accomplish that.

    There is no problem with the water going into the septic as long as the septic is in working condition. So says the EPA and two sets of research they have done over the last roughly 15-20 years.
  5. pronoman

    pronoman New Member

    Messages:
    5
    Location:
    Fuquay Varina, NC
    Unfortunately, the softener is being installed into a crawlspace so my only option is the short distance to the 4" PVC septic line. Creating another drain field specifically for the softener isn't an option. I've done months of reading and I'm not concerned with dumping into our tank. There are only two people in the home, and the softener is metered. So an additional 50 gallons of water (with only the first couple of gallons containing any traces of salt) every 9 days will not affect my tank, and the sodium/potassium will not affect the bacterial process or clog my leechfield... I can't find any positive proof that this can happen.

    The only thing people really need to be concerned about when discharging their softener in to septic is the added water capacity. If you already are pushing your tank and leechfield to its max and you add softener discharge...what you could end up with is a soggier yard.

    Do you have a suggestion on how to add a trap the 4" line?
  6. Cass

    Cass Plumber

    Messages:
    5,979
    Location:
    Ohio
    Not only should there be a trap but there must be an air gap between the hose discharge and the trap.
  7. coz

    coz New Member

    Messages:
    91
    Location:
    MA
    call your septic guy he`ll tell you salt water is no good for your system
  8. kordts

    kordts In the Trades

    Messages:
    551
    Location:
    exurban Chicago
    That's an old wives tale. If brine killed bacteria, then explain all the bacteria in the oceans.
  9. Gary Slusser

    Gary Slusser That's all folks!

    If you had an additional person living in the house (you do have more bed sapce than you use nw right?), they would use about 60 gallons per day. Or, if you did an another load of laundry and took an extra shower a day, you'd add more water to the septic than a softener will. So... if that wouldn't be a problem, a softener won't be either.
  10. pronoman

    pronoman New Member

    Messages:
    5
    Location:
    Fuquay Varina, NC
    You're exactly right. The average top-loading washing machine dumps no less than 30 gallons per load into the septic. About a month ago our washer took a dump, so we bought a front loader...which uses a lot less. So the septic system has the capacity for a softener without question.

    I was real leary at first about dumping the salt into the tank, but then I educated myself with facts and data, instead of listening to hearsay.

    But back to my original question... I now understand that it's a good idea to install a trap and an air-gap... but how to do it remains my question. I'm a handy electrical guy... and though I don't have any doubt that I will be able to plumb this softener up, I just want to make sure that I do it correctly.

    So does anyone have a picture or diagram of how to install one? I've searched for a while without finding anything that I think may be correct. Thanks again for any help.
  11. Cass

    Cass Plumber

    Messages:
    5,979
    Location:
    Ohio
    They make air gaps specificaly for softeners. It shouldn't be to hard to find. Gary S. may be able to help.
  12. Cal

    Cal New Member

    Messages:
    228
    Location:
    Northern Virginia
    To your original question ;

    You need to cut a 4 x 2 twye or wye into the 4" line . Send the 2" part /pipe towards your softner .

    At the location you desire , put a 2" Glue trap and a stand pipe out of the top 12" or so. Now you can suspend the discharge hose from the softner 1"-2" above the open pipe , thus creating an "air-gap" in case of back ups

    Cal
  13. ChrisNJ

    ChrisNJ New Member

    Messages:
    24
    Location:
    NJ
    my rig

    Is yer septic tank concrete with reebar? I've always been told that a softner in there is a big no-no. But if its poly, no biggie I guess :D

    My old house we had it running to the outside and into a "drywell" wich was merely a 2x2 pit with 3/4 river stoner in it and lined with filter fabric to keep the soil out. Was probably not legal, bt it did the trick.
  14. Gary Slusser

    Gary Slusser That's all folks!

    Whoever you buy the softener from should be telling you how to install it, including the drain line and its trap. I tell all my internet customers and send them pictures. So what are you buying and whi are you buying it from?

    Rebar is in concrete, so how does the softener's water get to the rebar? And I suspose the gases, chemicals etc. in the septic tank dosen't corrode it right?

    Some facts may help eleviate your concerns:
    http://www.epa.gov/ord/NRMRL/pubs/62...8/html/fs3.htm
    http://tinyurl.com/63bq7
    http://wqa.org/sitelogic.cfm?ID=212
    Last edited: Mar 1, 2007
  15. ChrisNJ

    ChrisNJ New Member

    Messages:
    24
    Location:
    NJ
  16. pronoman

    pronoman New Member

    Messages:
    5
    Location:
    Fuquay Varina, NC
    Thanks for your responses. I have two Fleck 7000's, one is a 32,000 G softener and the other is for a 1.5 birm filter (both discharge). I bought them from Ohio Pure Water Co and they have been helpful, but over the phone. I didn't choose them for any particualr reason other than price...at the time, I wasn't thinking about who was going to help me out the most (unfortunately). I've asked them for the same things I've asked you guys/gals (drawings/diagrams/etc.) and they don't have anything...which is why I am trying to hunt something down.

    It's not that I can't figure out what to do here, I'm just no expert and I want to make sure I do a job that is correct and will last for as long as it needs to.
  17. Gary Slusser

    Gary Slusser That's all folks!

    Pronoman, I know that name from somewhere.... Maybe you followed the advice of justalurker. He tells everyone to go to them (OPW) but he doesn't tell anyone he bought from me in July '04 and has a Clack WS-1 control valve; the best DIYer control there is. He doesn't know softener sizing or troubleshooting them very well but acts like he knows everything else about them but won't be honest about control valves. He is upset with me and directs anyone that will listen away from me and my web site but... that's personal and not because his softener doesn't work. BTW, everything being equal, my prices for the same thing are better than theirs (OPW).

    Anyway, it may not be code but will work just fine... that's a PVC saddle tee for 1.5 to 6" drain lines. You install it on the side of the line; not the top or bottom. Then with three sch 40 PVC elbows and a piece of sch 40 PVC pipe, make a trap. Extend the stand pipe up to just below the ceiling and you're done. Or cut the line and add a running tee or wye and make a trap to connect to it. You should have an air gap (always follow local codes). Just realize that IF your sewer backs up, you have a lot more to be concerned with than IF the sewer water contacted your softener's drain line, right? And if it does, you can sanitize it with the same bleach you use to clean the sewage'n paper off the floor, walls etc.. :)
  18. pronoman

    pronoman New Member

    Messages:
    5
    Location:
    Fuquay Varina, NC
    Gary, thanks for your help. To be honest, this is the first forum that I posted to for help with this, so I'm not familiar with who you mentioned. I actually was referred to OPW by a colleague of mine. The good news is, I now know about your site and will visit it when I plan on purchasing my R/O system and future parts.

    Thanks for your time and help, your info will help me get under way.
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