Discharge from drain is killing my plants!

Discussion in 'Water Softener Forum, problems, installation and r' started by gentlewindwest, Jul 13, 2011.

  1. gentlewindwest

    gentlewindwest New Member

    Messages:
    3
    Location:
    Woodbridge, CA
    I recently had an EcoPure 7140 water softener installed. The plumber put the discharge drain through the exterior wall and it drains into a flower bed. Almost immediately, all the flowers there are dying and I can see salt residue on top of the soil. How much discharge can I expect from the softener and when does it happen? I put a quart size plastic container under the spout, but so far (after 24 hours) I've not seen a drop of liquid in it. I'm thinking this happened at the very start (activation of system) with the initial recharge cycle and filling. Any thoughts on whether or not this bucket will be sufficient for catching the drainage before it can damage more plants? Or will I have to have the line run back into the house and down a drain? Our house is built on a slab.
  2. Akpsdvan

    Akpsdvan In the Trades

    Messages:
    1,490
    Location:
    Alaska
    Change where the system discharges to.

    Often a system cleans at 2AM and depending on the capacity of the unit and the comp hardness of the water and the number of people as to how often it regens or cleans, could be every other day or out to every 7 days or even more....
  3. jimbo

    jimbo Plumber

    Messages:
    8,997
    Location:
    San Diego
    several gallons every time it regenerates....daily, weekly, whatever.

    SOFTENED water will harm your plants, due to high sodium content. The REGENERATION water will kill plants on sight! More salt than
    sea water! AND>...it is NOT LEGAL in most places to discharge that water anyplace except the sewer. Your plumber screwed up.
  4. mialynette2003

    mialynette2003 Member

    Messages:
    738
    Location:
    Ocala, Florida
    A french drain needs to be installed to save the flowers. The plumber should have known the salt would be harmful to the vegetation.
  5. gentlewindwest

    gentlewindwest New Member

    Messages:
    3
    Location:
    Woodbridge, CA
    Thank you to all who responded.

    I just wanted to thank those of you who responded to this post. I will call the plumber tomorrow and tell him what has happened. It was his first water softener installation. He's a very nice guy and I'm sure we'll figure out a way to reroute the softener drain so that it can discharge through a household drain. I'm thinking he'll have to run a line the length of my garage and in through my laundry room. Oh well, I didn't know any better either. But the one post about softened water harming plants is scary. Perhaps my sprinkler system does not use softened water, although I think the exterior house bibs are now softened water, which means using the hose may not be helpful for watering plants, even if it is helpful for washing cars. I thought this was an advanced whole house water softener with water that was safe for drinking, etc. But maybe it's just the discharge fluids that are harmful. Let's hope so, anyway, or we're pulling this baby out.:eek:
  6. mialynette2003

    mialynette2003 Member

    Messages:
    738
    Location:
    Ocala, Florida
    The soft water will not hurt the plants. It's the high concentration of salt from the discharge that hurts them. You can run the discharge the length of the garage and be fine. Just don't run the drain line more than 8 feet above the softener.
  7. Gary Swart

    Gary Swart In the Trades

    Messages:
    7,362
    Location:
    Yakima WA
    A French Drain is not the answer here. A French Drain is under the surface of the ground and drains water that has already perked through the top soil. In my opinion, the water should be connected to the sewer, but not a hard piped connection. It needs an air gap, much like the washing machine. This prevents a backed up sewer from getting into the softener. It will still make an awful mess on the floor though.
  8. LLigetfa

    LLigetfa DIYer, not in the trades

    Messages:
    4,081
    Location:
    NW Ontario, Canada
    I dump both the iron filter backwash and the softener regen to my sump pit where it normally gets diluted by the fresh water from the perimeter drain. The sump pump then takes it to a surface ditch on my property.

    As long as there is enough fresh water to dilute it, it is harmless to the trees but during a drought, some of the trees along the ditch will show some browning on the edge of their leaves. A few of the trees died but there were other contributing factors as well.

    Some people claim that the sodium in the softened water can accumulate in the soil but then those are usually people trying to sell you potassium chloride as a "plant friendly alternative". Unfortunately my wife bought the pitch and refuses to use salt. Even at that, she uses RO water on the indoor plants.

    The outdoor hose bibs are plumbed between the iron filter and the water softener. That way, the iron is removed but we are not not wasting soft water on the sprinklers and soaker hoses.
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