Residential Water Softeners Can Cause Problems in Pipes and Treatment Facilities


Water Softener EffectsSome people prefer to have soft water in their home, because it leaves skin feeling softer, helps prevent spots from forming on dishes, requires less soap or detergent for cleaning and can also prolong the life of appliances. While home water softeners offer benefits, some systems can cause problems in your home plumbing system, in the sewer system, and in the environment.

The most problematic home water softeners are the “self-regenerating” systems in which the resident adds rock salt or potassium chloride pellets to the system. The hardness from the water softener does not simply disappear; it just gets moved from the water system to the sewer system.  This can cause build up and clogs in your home’s sewer pipes.  A solution is to use the service of a water softener company that periodically exchanges softener tanks and has the specialized facilities to regenerate the softener properly.

Self-regenerating water softeners require regular maintenance and a constant supply of salt to work properly. Frequent trips to buy bags of salt at the store and the transport of heavy salt from the store to the tank can be expensive and bothersome. If not maintained properly, the water softener can release “resin,” which is the material that treats the hardness in a household’s water plumbing system. This results in the material flowing into the faucet strainers, shower heads, toilet valve, and refrigerator water system, which could result in a costly repair bill.

Self-regenerating water softeners also cause problems for sewer systems. The hardness can cause scale to build up in the pipes, which reduces pipe capacity and creates a rough finish that leads to blockages in the home and public sewer systems. The problems do not stop there; once the water softener waste reaches the sewage treatment plant, it upsets the biological treatment process and passes through the treatment plant to the environment and/or to the recycled water system. Very expensive treatment systems would need to be installed to remove the softener waste from the system; it is far more economical to not discharge it to the sewer in the first place.

If you want to have soft water in your home, the best option is to select a water softener service company that provides the service in a responsible manner. This option will better protect your home plumbing system, the sewer system and the environment.   If you have any questions, please call JCSD’s Sewer Department at  (951) 685-7434.