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PLUMBING SYSTEM INSPECT DIAGNOSE REPAIR
CHEMICAL CONTAMINANTS in WATER
CLOGGED SUPPLY PIPING
DEBRIS in WATER SUPPLY, Water Heater
DRINKING WATER TESTING
EPA GUIDE to WATER QUALITY
FHA WATER TESTS REQUIRED
FREEZE-PROOF A BUILDING
HARD WATER - SOFTENERS
HEAT TAPE USAGE GUIDE
MUNICIPAL WATER PRESSURE IMPROVEMENTS
ODORS GASES SMELLS, DIAGNOSIS & CURE
ODORS IN WATER
PLUMBING SYSTEM ODORS
PRESSURE CONTROL SWITCH ADJUSTMENT
REVERSE OSMOSIS CONCENTRATE DISPOSAL
SEWER GAS ODORS
WATER HEATER SCALE REMOVAL
WATER HEATER SCALE PREVENTION
WATER ODORS, CAUSE CURE
WATER PRESSURE & FLOW MEASUREMENT
WATER QUALITY TESTS, CONTAMINANTS, TREATMENT
WATER SOFTENERS & CONDITIONERS
WATER SOURCE ALTERNATIVES
WATER SUPPLY & DRAIN PIPING
WATER TANK: USES, TROUBLESHOOTING
WATER TESTS, CONTAMINANTS, TREATMENT
WINTERIZE A BUILDING
Water Softener health risks & effect on drinking water: this article explains the health risks associated with water softeners or water conditioners: what are the effects of salt introduced into the water supply? How much salt does a water conditioner leave in the building's drinking water? We also discuss possible bacterial or pathogenic hazards that occur if a water softener drain is not properly connected with an air gap. Also see SALT OR WATER INTO SEPTIC.
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A water softener removes minerals from the water supply, particularly calcium and magnesium, and perhaps a limited amount of un-wanted iron in the water supply. Keep in mind that a water softener is not a water sterilizer. If your water supply is contaminated with bacteria, chemicals, or sediment, the water softener is not designed to remove those substances and other treatment or filtration may be needed.
More details about water softeners and their salt contribution to the drinking water supply and thus to the septic system can be read at SALT OR WATER INTO SEPTIC.
How Much Salt is in Water that has Passed Through the Water Softener?
The answer is ... it depends. If a softener is working correctly and is adjusted correctly then the salt level in treated water should be quite low. Kenmore gives this interesting example of the effect of sofened water on salt consumption:
Also see REVERSE OSMOSIS WATER TREATMENT.
Watch out: if a water softener is not properly adjusted and maintained you may find that higher levels of salt are being placed into the building water supply.
Plumbing Cross Connections at the Water Softener - Bacterial Contamination Health Risks from Plumbing Cross Connections at the Water Softener
A "cross connection" is a direct physical connection between a building water supply pipe and a drain pipe.
This may sound like an unlikely event in buildings but in fact it is common in a few instances: installers often make a tight connection between the water softener backwash/discharge drain (usually a small diameter plastic tube) and a building drain.
While it is not unique to water softener installations, this plumbing error is often made when these devices are installed. It is unsanitary and is a health risk.
Watch out: never connect a water softener drain tube or pipe directly to a building drain (as shown in our photographs above. Doing so risks back-siphonage of sewage into the water softener and thus risks dangerous contamination of the building water supply.
For bacteria contamination or other water contaminant test guidelines see WATER TEST CHOICES & WATER TEST FEES. Also see CROSS CONNECTIONS, PLUMBING for details about cross connections and various places where they occur in building plumbing systems.
Cross connections are defined with further examples at Home Inspection Definitions & Terms.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) About Water Softener Health Risks & Salt Dosages
Question: Is there a hazard drinking liquid brine?
Is there a hazzard drinking liquid brine - email@example.com 8/26/2012
Certainly, no one would, should, nor could (without getting sick or vomiting) drink the salty brine found in a water conditioner salt tank.
If you were actually asking if there is a hazard drinking water that has been conditioned by a water softener and that might contain low levels of salt, start reading our answer at Health Risks of Water Softeners: Water Softener Salt in Drinking Water & Other Risks in the article above. If questions remain, just ask.
Questions & answers or comments about the Health Risks of Water Softeners and of Water Softener Salt or Bacteria in Drinking Water.
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Technical Reviewers & References
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