I discovered that my water softener hose was discharging out in the open using a hose that just went directly outside a basement vent and into the open. I'm on a septic/well system so I can't just discharge it down the drain like a lot of tutorials say.

I have a French drain system in my basement leading to a sump pump, but a lot of people recommend not going there as it can wear gaskets and void warranties among other problems.

Some say to push it into a gray water system, but I'm not sure how to do that and seems not DIY. I also have some outdoor underground drainage, like a grate to divert water away from the house, so I could maybe find a way to direct the hose there and hope it goes far enough away.

I could also maybe MacGyver a way to discharge it into a downspout that leads to an underground drain pipe leading far away from the house.

Any other thoughts on how to handle this?

  • A grey water system is a basic hole/pit in the ground that only sink/tub/shower type water goes in. Some places it it quite illegal, some okay. If the vegetation outside is not dying, then your system should be okay.
    – crip659
    Dec 21, 2022 at 1:07
  • 2
    Where do you get that a properly operating softeners shouldn't discharge into septic? (I'm on 30 yo softener + septic that was pumped only once, and only due to condition of financing.) water-rightgroup.com/resources/septic-system-water-softener Dec 21, 2022 at 4:54
  • @NoSparksPlease It is relatively well-known that you should avoid overloading your septic system with excessive water; this is particularly an issue with laundry machines. Congratulations, you've won the septic lotto with a good sized tank, proper water conservation, and good leach field drainage. However, your experience doesn't invalidate what the rest of us experience. Excess water softener water is a valid concern.
    – MonkeyZeus
    Dec 21, 2022 at 15:00

1 Answer 1


The discharge water from a water softener is positively loaded with calcium, magnesium, and either sodium or magnesium chloride salts depending on which you use. It should be considered wastewater (or blackwater if you prefer the term) and sent to a wastewater treatment, be that your on-site septic tank or your community sewer. It's not something you're going to want to just discharge onto your landscaping or into a french drain.

Unless your septic system is massively undersized, you needn't worry about the amount of water. Your specific water softener will specify how much water it uses during a regeneration cycle, but most softeners I've installed use roughly 20-30 gallons of water per regen and the regen occurs roughly every 7-10 days.

  • If this is true then the fix is rather complicated, I have a hose leading no where but need to connect it to the large PVC pipe running into my septic? I'm shocked this was never properly connected to anything and just ran directly outside for probably decades. If the fix is to connect it to the septic, do you know what's involved in doing that? I guess I need to call the septic people for quotes? Jan 4 at 16:41
  • No worries - to get into your septic, the wastewater just needs to go into any drain that already goes to your septic system - no need to be messing with the septic system directly. Assuming you have a washing machine or sink drain in the same room, running the hose into that would suffice. A floor drain would also be OK as long as it goes to the septic and not to a greywater cistern.
    – Chris O
    Jan 4 at 19:04
  • My basement is a crawlspace so I have no direct access to the septic, though there are PVC pipes running from my toilets. My floor drains go to a sump pump and not the septic. Does it sound like I need an expert here? Jan 5 at 17:21

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