Where to Discharge Water Softener Backwash?

A water softener is an essential appliance for homes with hard water, but it’s crucial to know where to discharge the backwash. This article will explore different options for discharging water softener backwash and the factors to consider when choosing the best method for your home.

Understanding Water Softener Backwash

  • What is backwash?
  • Why proper discharge is important

What is Backwash?

Water softener backwash is the wastewater generated during the regeneration process. It contains high concentrations of salt, minerals, and other impurities removed from the hard water.

Why Proper Discharge is Important

Properly discharging water softener backwash is essential to prevent environmental harm, comply with local regulations, and maintain the effectiveness of your water softening system.

Options for Discharging Water Softener Backwash

  • Sewer system
  • Dry well
  • Septic system (with caution)

Sewer System

One of the most common and preferred methods for discharging water softener backwash is connecting it to the sewer system. This method ensures that the backwash is appropriately treated at a wastewater treatment facility before being released into the environment.

Dry Well

If connecting to the sewer system is not an option, a dry well is another viable method for discharging water softener backwash. A dry well is a gravel-filled pit that allows the backwash to percolate into the ground slowly. This method is suitable for areas with permeable soil and sufficient distance from water sources to prevent contamination.

Septic System (with caution)

Discharging water softener backwash into a septic system is generally not recommended due to the high salt content, which can disrupt the bacterial balance and harm the system. However, if your septic system is designed to handle the additional load and local regulations allow it, this method can be considered.

Factors to Consider When Choosing a Discharge Method

  • Local regulations
  • Environmental impact
  • System compatibility

Local Regulations

Before selecting a discharge method, consult your local regulations to ensure compliance. Some areas may have specific requirements or restrictions on where water softener backwash can be discharged.

Environmental Impact

Choose a discharge method that minimizes the environmental impact of the backwash. Connecting to a sewer system or installing a dry well can help protect the environment by treating or filtering the wastewater before it enters the ecosystem.

System Compatibility

Ensure that the discharge method you choose is compatible with your existing water softener system and plumbing infrastructure. Some systems may require additional components or modifications to connect to a specific discharge method.


When deciding where to discharge water softener backwash, it’s essential to consider local regulations, environmental impact, and system compatibility. Common options include the sewer system, dry well, and septic system (with caution). By selecting the best method for your home, you can ensure the proper disposal of water softener backwash and maintain the effectiveness of your water softening system.