Environmental Science and Engineering

Workshop: Performance Effects of Water Softener Brine on Onsite Systems

Publication Date: January 2011
Cooperating Institution:
Principal Investigator: WERF
Project Budget: $25,000
Project Identifier: DEC2W09


The Water Environment Research Foundation, in partnership with the US Environmental Protection Agency and other industry organizations, sponsored a research workshop to identify key research needs of the water softener and onsite systems industry.

The workshop participants discussed the state of the science and research on topics such as: ion exchange, wastewater characterization of systems with water softeners; effects of chlorides on microbiological transformations (including BOD removal, nitrification/denitrification and anaerobic processes); interrelationships between salts, septic tanks and biological processes, and mono and divalent Cat Ions and their effect on settling. Speakers included academics such as Dr. JoAnn Silverstein from the University of Colorado, Dr. John Novak from Virginia Tech, as well as experts such as Dr. Phillip Pedros from F.R. Mahony & Associates and Alan Rimer from Black & Veatch Corporation.

The workshop also provided the participants with the opportunity to hear the perspectives of regulators such as Tom Konsler from Orange County, North Carolina, John Hayes from the State of Delaware, and Maureen Tooke of the US EPA. Finally, participants also had the opportunity to hear from different industry representatives such as Terry Bounds of ORENCO, Joe Harrison of the Water Quality Association, and Tom Ferrero of the National Association of Waste Transporters. The Workshop attendees identified and prioritized the following top five areas for research: identification of wastewater influent and effluent characteristics; research in sedimentation and stratification in septic tanks; a survey of onsite systems with and without softeners; research of effects on septic tank effluents; and research in soil plugging and permeability issues.

Associated Documents:
Final Workshop Report