Where to Discharge Water Softener Backwash?: Ultimate Solution

With the introduction of a water softener, it is necessary to discharge backwash water periodically. The discharge location should not be in the middle of a field, as this may cause environmental pollution. But, where to discharge water softener backwash? This article will introduce the place where backwash water should discharge.

What is Water Softener Backwash Cycle?

The water softener backwash cycle is a process in which the water softener regenerates its resin. It also eliminates any mineral build-up that may have accumulated in the tank. The water softener backwash cycle is different from a regular water softener regeneration because it does not use salt to regenerate the resin.

The backwash cycle uses a special chemical called sodium bicarbonate to regenerate the resin. This chemical is less expensive and does not leave any residue on dishes or clothes as salt would do.
You can discharge your water softener backwash through an outside faucet, or by pulling out a hose from your home’s plumbing system.

water softener backwash cycle

Where to Discharge Water Softener Backwash: Types of Backwash Cycle

The purpose of a water softener backwash is to thoroughly rinse the minerals present in the water softener out. One of the most common problems that can happen with a water softener is a lack of backwash. Another consequence can be the overloading of minerals, which will also lead to increased maintenance procedures.

There are two common types of backwash cycles: automatic backwash and manual backwash.

Automatic Backwash Cycle

In an automatic backwash water softener, when flushing occurs due to excess coins in it or during salt-conversion cycles, then an electrical sensor responds by ordering an internal piston pump to go forward and backward to swirl salt and cleanse accumulated grime inside.

Manual Backwash Cycle 

Manual backwash happens in the water softener that features a hand-controlled regeneration method. And this step occurs at the beginning of the regeneration cycle.

What Does Water Softener Backwash Contain?

We are looking into the solution of where to discharge water softener backwash. So, it is important to know what ingredients are present in a softening system’s backwash water.

During the water softening process, calcium and magnesium ions exchange with sodium ions. After a certain period, the sodium ions need recharging to get softened water. And sodium-rich water from the brine tank flows through the resin beads. Sodium ions replace hard minerals like calcium and magnesium ions in this process.

However, Backwash water contains highly concentrated sodium chloride or potassium chloride (if you use potassium salt in your water softener), calcium chloride, magnesium chloride, etc. Some other chemicals like phosphates and carbonates may appear in the backwash water.

Where to Drain Water Softener Backwash?

Discharging brine water is a regular need as long as you have a water softener. However, you have many options to drain your water softener backwash. But, it’s better to look into structural solutions, and it will drain your water automatically. Let’s know about other options of where to discharge water softener backwash-

i) Discharge Water Softener Backwash Into Dry Well

A dry well is a porous wall that allows slow soaking of water softener backwash discharge. This wall prevents the sudden increase of sodium concentration in the soil. But a dry well should make above the water level. A dry well can take a large amount of backwash water and releases it slowly to the surrounding ground.

water softener backwash discharge in dry well

ii) Into Local Sewage System

Draining directly into the local sewage system is the most convenient way to discharge water softener backwash. But you have to mind the rules and regulations of your local area. As some municipalities have restrictions about draining directly into the sewage system.

iii) Drain Into Your OWTS

where to discharge water softener backwash

Making an onsite wastewater treatment system(OWTS) is the best solution to discharge water softener backwash. However, make sure that your OWTS can handle the volume of producing water.

Where Shouldn't Discharge Water Softener Backwash?

Water softener backwash contains harmful sodium salt. We should not discharge it here and there. Let’s know where shouldn’t throw the water softener backwash-

a) Do not Run Backwash Directly Into Ground

Running it onto the ground is the easy answer to “where to discharge water softener backwash?”. But we shouldn’t do it for its harmful effects on the ecosystem. Because we know water softener backwash is sodium-rich. And it destroys the soil or water-based ecosystem. 

In some areas, there are rules and regulations about this. So, you might not violate the laws of the local area you are living.

b) Avoid Plant or Animal Rich Areas

High concentrated sodium is not only harmful to humans. It has negative impacts on other animals, plants, and grass. So, we should avoid the animal or plant-rich areas discharging water softener backwash. 

Freshwater ponds and lakes are the habitats of aquatic animals. We mustn’t run backwash in these habitats.

C) Don't Discharge Water Softener Backwash Near Water Sources

High concentrations of sodium have a severe impact on our health. So, it’s important to avoid any other water sources when discharging water softener backwash.

Uses of Water Softener Backwash Discharge

Water softener backwash has some other applications. If our backwash discharging options don’t fit your environment, consider it for alternative use. Now, what are the other uses of water softener backwash? Let’s take a look-

To Eradicate Weeds

Concentrated salt water is a great weed killer. You can use it to eradicate weeds from the driveway or patio deck. But you have to be careful when using backwash discharge for this purpose because salty water can harm the vegetables of your garden.

burned grass by backwash water


The freezing point of salt water is lower than regular water. So, you can use the backwash water for de-icing your driveway in the winter season.

To Keep Your Garden Slug-free

You can use salty backwash to keep your garden slug-free. Slugs don’t like saltwater as it drys them. To do this, pour or brush the backwash water to prevent your garden from slugs.

Where to Discharge Water Softener Backwash?: FAQs

1. What is the difference between backwashing and regeneration?

Backwashing is the process of reversing the flow of water through a water softener. However, this process removes accumulated mineral deposits from the brine tank. The backwash cycle will typically last from 5 to 15 minutes, depending on the hardness of your local water.

Regeneration is a process that occurs when you add more salt to your water softener. The regeneration cycle usually lasts 2 hours and will soften your water by removing any excess sodium or potassium chloride that has built up in the brine tank.

2. How often should a water softener be regenerated?

A water softener is a device that removes the hardness of the water. It does this by replacing calcium and magnesium ions with sodium or potassium ions.

The frequency of regeneration depends on the hardness of your water. A good rule of thumb is to regenerate after every 12- 14 days for a household with hard water. However, it depends on the total hardness of water and water usage.

3. What Will Happen If the Drain Line of My Water Softener Become Blocked?

The drain line of a water softener helps to flow out water with hardness minerals, iron, and dirt. When it becomes clogged, these minerals, iron, and dirt will accumulate in your water softener resin. That means your resin will not be long-lasting, and it will need to change quickly. You might know it’s a costly option.

Water Softener Discharge Hole Installation Video

Where to Discharge Water Softener Backwash: Final Words

Making a self wastewater treatment system is the best way to discharge water softener backwash. As the salty water softener backwash harms the surrounding ecosystem and groundwater.

Thanks for reading our article on where to discharge water softener backwash. If useful, please share this article with your friends.

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