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#276574 - 01/02/12 07:52 PM water softner draining into pond, any problems?
chrissnow Offline


Registered: 06/19/11
Posts: 56
Loc: Ohio
I just had a 3/4 acre pond dug in september or 2011. its almost full thanks to the lovely ohio weather!!!! Any way I had all my downspot and foundation drains ran into the pond to help keep it full and my water softner discharge line (for the regen cycle) is tied in to the down spots. I have not ran any water test yet but am curious to know if this will casue a potentional problem. thanks for the help in advance. Chris

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#276582 - 01/03/12 01:17 AM Re: water softner draining into pond, any problems? [Re: chrissnow]
esshup Offline
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Chris, how much salt are you going thru per month?
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#276586 - 01/03/12 06:07 AM Re: water softner draining into pond, any problems? [Re: esshup]
chrissnow Offline


Registered: 06/19/11
Posts: 56
Loc: Ohio
To be honest I don't really know. I know my tub holds four bags, and I only fill it up with 3 bags maybe every 4-6 months I think. I will have to do some more research and get back to you. Thanks

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#276587 - 01/03/12 07:06 AM Re: water softner draining into pond, any problems? [Re: chrissnow]
Couppedeville Offline
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Registered: 08/03/09
Posts: 149
Loc: Louisiana, Washington
Chris,

On my water sorftner on the backside of the timer, there is a white dial with a needle pointing to some numbers, 4-25 I think. This will tell you have many pounds of salt is being utilized with each flush. Next, you will be need to see how often you are flushing. I have mine set to flush every other night at 12 lbs per flush. Next you have have to look at the softner manual and see how many gallons of water is used in the flush. From there you should get an idea.

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#276595 - 01/03/12 08:49 AM Re: water softner draining into pond, any problems? [Re: chrissnow]
esshup Offline
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Registered: 01/26/09
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Chrissnow, if you don't have water moving thru the pond, and flushing the salt out periodically, I think you will be in for problems in the long run. Salt is cumulative, and will be continually building up over time if it isn't flushed out.

Take a look at the Salton Sea history for an example........
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#276597 - 01/03/12 09:04 AM Re: water softner draining into pond, any problems? [Re: esshup]
Cecil Baird1 Offline
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I don't think it will be a problem. Just not enough salt to make a big difference when you consider your pond probably has at least a million gallons of water.

Yes salt can be cumulative but it would take a long long time for it to add up to much in the pond.
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#276628 - 01/03/12 06:05 PM Re: water softner draining into pond, any problems? [Re: Cecil Baird1]
Cody Veach Offline


Registered: 09/20/10
Posts: 384
Loc: Central PA
Some salt is good for there slime coat ... right? I would think the vitamins and minerals would get used up by the ecosystem.

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#276632 - 01/03/12 06:12 PM Re: water softner draining into pond, any problems? [Re: Cody Veach]
esshup Offline
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Cody, yes, some is good, but if there is no flushing going on, how much will be built up in that ecosystem in 20 or 30 years?
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#276635 - 01/03/12 06:21 PM Re: water softner draining into pond, any problems? [Re: esshup]
Cecil Baird1 Offline
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Originally Posted By: esshup
Cody, yes, some is good, but if there is no flushing going on, how much will be built up in that ecosystem in 20 or 30 years?


I see your point Scott but there will be a lot of dilution too.
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#276638 - 01/03/12 06:47 PM Re: water softner draining into pond, any problems? [Re: Cecil Baird1]
Bob Lusk Offline
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Registered: 04/10/02
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Let's do some math here, fellas.
Ocean water is around 32 parts per thousand salt.
Brackish water ranges from about .5 ppt upward to 30 ppt. Freshwater fish can tolerate at least 6 ppt, some can handle more than that. Reproduction of most freshwater fish is affected around 4 ppt and beyond.

A 3/4 acre pond, average depth 6 feet deep, is about 4.5 acre feet of water. 324,000 gallons are an acre foot. So, that 3/4 acre pond is about 1.5 million gallons. 1.5 million gallons, at 8.35 pounds per gallon, is more than 12 million pounds of the liquid. .5 ppt, to make the water brackish, would take 6,000 pounds of salt.

That sounds like ten years worth of salt from the softener, assuming no flushing, assuming none of the animals take up any of it (which they will), to reach that magical "brackish" qualification. By the way, at .5 ppt, you can't taste the salt in the water.
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#276642 - 01/03/12 07:18 PM Re: water softner draining into pond, any problems? [Re: Bob Lusk]
Instar Offline


Registered: 01/28/11
Posts: 201
Loc: Pensacola, Florida
The salt in itself is probably not cause for concern. The problem arises in the additives in many water softener salts. If you are using Morton's in the BLUE bag, you have no cause for concern, but if you are using Morton's in the YELLOW bag you are adding other chemicals to the pond's water column that may have a toxic effect at very low levels (micrograms/Liter). The addition of ANY non-naturally occurring compounds (chemicals) will alter the natural balance of water quality to a lesser or greater degree. This is exactly why the EPA has established fresh water quality guidelines, to aid us in protecting the ecological balance of our waterways. Choosing not to follow thee guidelines, or basic common sense for that matter, is inviting disastrous consequences.

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#276649 - 01/03/12 07:55 PM Re: water softner draining into pond, any problems? [Re: Instar]
chrissnow Offline


Registered: 06/19/11
Posts: 56
Loc: Ohio
Thank you every one for the responses, I will look into the amount of salt going in and post back. I don't have a problem switching it to the septic system, I've heard they are not good for those as well. I am using the blue bag of morton salt so that is relieving to know it shouldn't hurt it. Thanks again.

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#276658 - 01/03/12 09:21 PM Re: water softner draining into pond, any problems? [Re: Instar]
Cecil Baird1 Offline
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Registered: 08/08/02
Posts: 20043
Loc: Northeastern Indiana
Originally Posted By: Instar
The salt in itself is probably not cause for concern. The problem arises in the additives in many water softener salts. If you are using Morton's in the BLUE bag, you have no cause for concern, but if you are using Morton's in the YELLOW bag you are adding other chemicals to the pond's water column that may have a toxic effect at very low levels (micrograms/Liter). The addition of ANY non-naturally occurring compounds (chemicals) will alter the natural balance of water quality to a lesser or greater degree. This is exactly why the EPA has established fresh water quality guidelines, to aid us in protecting the ecological balance of our waterways. Choosing not to follow thee guidelines, or basic common sense for that matter, is inviting disastrous consequences.


What chemicals are we talking about that are harmful for the pond but not harmful for us to drink?
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#276665 - 01/03/12 09:44 PM Re: water softner draining into pond, any problems? [Re: Cecil Baird1]
esshup Offline
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Registered: 01/26/09
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The people who owned the house before me had the water softner turned up, and used so much salt that they ate thru the cast iron drain pipe, and that went on for so long that it also ate thru the copper pipe coming from the bladder tanks.....

Since going from the shallow well to the 66' depth, I haven't needed the softner.
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#276668 - 01/03/12 10:09 PM Re: water softner draining into pond, any problems? [Re: Cecil Baird1]
Instar Offline


Registered: 01/28/11
Posts: 201
Loc: Pensacola, Florida
Humans can tolerate chemicals at levels that would be otherwise fatal to every organism in the a pond. Heavy metals and hydrocarbons are two prime examples.
Some water softening salt is Potassium Chloride. The resulting Potassium lading flush would most likely result in difficult to control algae blooms.
Crissnow- If any of the water originating from the house is coming through Copper piping, this could also cause potential problems as heavy metals are both acutely and chronically toxic to all aquatic organisms at extremely low levels.
Originally Posted By: Cecil Baird1
Originally Posted By: Instar
The salt in itself is probably not cause for concern. The problem arises in the additives in many water softener salts. If you are using Morton's in the BLUE bag, you have no cause for concern, but if you are using Morton's in the YELLOW bag you are adding other chemicals to the pond's water column that may have a toxic effect at very low levels (micrograms/Liter). The addition of ANY non-naturally occurring compounds (chemicals) will alter the natural balance of water quality to a lesser or greater degree. This is exactly why the EPA has established fresh water quality guidelines, to aid us in protecting the ecological balance of our waterways. Choosing not to follow thee guidelines, or basic common sense for that matter, is inviting disastrous consequences.


What chemicals are we talking about that are harmful for the pond but not harmful for us to drink?


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#276669 - 01/03/12 10:28 PM Re: water softner draining into pond, any problems? [Re: Instar]
Cecil Baird1 Offline
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Registered: 08/08/02
Posts: 20043
Loc: Northeastern Indiana
We'll just have to agree to disagree. I think your concerns are way overblown especially considering the volume of water in even small ponds.
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#276671 - 01/03/12 11:40 PM Re: water softner draining into pond, any problems? [Re: Instar]
Kelly Duffie Offline
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Registered: 04/19/02
Posts: 1478
Loc: Cypress, TX (Helena A-E LLC))
Originally Posted By: Instar
If any of the water originating from the house is coming through Copper piping, this could also cause potential problems as heavy metals are both acutely and chronically toxic to all aquatic organisms at extremely low levels.
I'm curious. What copper ppm-concentratations in water have been correlated with copper-tubing deterioration? And, what is the actual level of copper exposure (acute and/or chronic) that is toxic to all aquatic organisms?

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#276672 - 01/04/12 12:57 AM Re: water softner draining into pond, any problems? [Re: Kelly Duffie]
Instar Offline


Registered: 01/28/11
Posts: 201
Loc: Pensacola, Florida
First of all, it needs to be understood that, like other heavy metals, Copper is a bio-accumulate. The acute and chronic toxicity levels vary from organism to organism and from specie to specie. Anyone that has ever used Copper Sulphate for algae control knows just how delicate and precise the application must be to prevent a fish kill. To address the toxicity levels of each specie would require too much space on this Forum, but to give an example: Nitrifying bacteria, in particular Nitrosomonas europea is affected by very low levels of Copper. At levels as low as 0.20 ppm Copper, Nitrite conversion is reduced by 60%. In any earthen bottom pond there is usually a background level of Copper. This should be taken into account. Testing Copper levels would be advisable along with Hardness for, ironically, Copper is MORE toxic in soft water.
My Blog post on ionizers covers the Copper question in more detail.
http://ripplesinc.blogspot.com/2011/12/are-pond-ionizers-safe-you-be-judge.html
As to the Copper pipe question, the answer will depend on the pH and flow rate of the water passing through.
Originally Posted By: Kelly Duffie
Originally Posted By: Instar
If any of the water originating from the house is coming through Copper piping, this could also cause potential problems as heavy metals are both acutely and chronically toxic to all aquatic organisms at extremely low levels.
I'm curious. What copper ppm-concentratations in water have been correlated with copper-tubing deterioration? And, what is the actual level of copper exposure (acute and/or chronic) that is toxic to all aquatic organisms?



Edited by Instar (01/04/12 12:59 AM)

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#276944 - 01/06/12 10:42 PM Re: water softner draining into pond, any problems? [Re: Instar]
Kelly Duffie Offline
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Registered: 04/19/02
Posts: 1478
Loc: Cypress, TX (Helena A-E LLC))
Instar - I read your blog, but sense that it contradicts your previous statement.

"The only organisms that have not been discussed are the bacteria, in particular, the nitrifying bacteria. The results of studies on the toxic effects of Copper are quite surprising. Copper and Zinc appear to be the least toxic of the metals tested. Copper, at low levels, actually stimulates activity in both Nitrobacter and Nitrosomonas. At levels up to 50 mg/L the Copper ion has no toxic effect on Nitrobacter. Instead, the stimulatory effect is readily apparent...... Apparentlly. at 50 mg/L Copper has not reached the dross-over point where a chemical shows neither stimulatory nor inhibitory effects.(sic) This, unfortunately, is not true of Nitrosomonas. Growth of Nitrosomonas is greatly inhibited (about 60%) by Copper concentrations of .20 ppm."

So, if I correctly understand your blog, low levels of copper stimulate the activity of Nitrosomonas, but also inhibit their growth. Is the term "activity" considered synonymous with "nitrite conversion"?

In any case, in 25+ years of working with copper-algaecide treatments, I've never encountered a fish-kill that was related to copper-toxity (except one such case in which the result was intentional, and wasn't my call). Treatment-induced DO-crashes, although relatively rare, are a different story - and not strictly related to copper-algaecides.

Granted, it's possible that aquatic invertebrates might be temporarily impacted by copper-based treatments. But, I've never observed a copper-treatment's sustained impact on aquatic invertebrates. Then again, I have no dealings with koi-ponds.

On a side note, shown below is an excerpt from an article that I found interesting.


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#276945 - 01/06/12 11:16 PM Re: water softner draining into pond, any problems? [Re: Kelly Duffie]
Instar Offline


Registered: 01/28/11
Posts: 201
Loc: Pensacola, Florida
Kelly- Go back and re-read the excerpt of my blog post that you cited. You will see that it states that Nitrobacter is stimulated, but Nitrosomonas is inhibited when levels reach 0.20 ppm. If the bacteria are active, then bioconversion is occurring. And yes, some aquatic plants have the ability to absorb many toxic agents. The key here, as stated in the article that you posted, is the 15 days. A lot of damage can be done to the food chain/web in hours. It is quite possible that a toxic level might not be reached in a large pond from the low input indicated in this thread, only testing can determine that, but pond owners can only benefit from knowing the facts concerning Heavy Metals and other pollutants and the possible adverse impact they may have on the health of their pond.
Originally Posted By: Kelly Duffie
Instar - I read your blog, but sense that it contradicts your previous statement.

"The only organisms that have not been discussed are the bacteria, in particular, the nitrifying bacteria. The results of studies on the toxic effects of Copper are quite surprising. Copper and Zinc appear to be the least toxic of the metals tested. Copper, at low levels, actually stimulates activity in both Nitrobacter and Nitrosomonas. At levels up to 50 mg/L the Copper ion has no toxic effect on Nitrobacter. Instead, the stimulatory effect is readily apparent...... Apparentlly. at 50 mg/L Copper has not reached the dross-over point where a chemical shows neither stimulatory nor inhibitory effects.(sic) This, unfortunately, is not true of Nitrosomonas. Growth of Nitrosomonas is greatly inhibited (about 60%) by Copper concentrations of .20 ppm."

So, if I correctly understand your blog, low levels of copper stimulate the activity of Nitrosomonas, but also inhibit their growth. Is the term "activity" considered synonymous with "nitrite conversion"?

In any case, in 25+ years of working with copper-algaecide treatments, I've never encountered a fish-kill that was related to copper-toxity (except one such case in which the result was intentional, and wasn't my call). Treatment-induced DO-crashes, although relatively rare, are a different story - and not strictly related to copper-algaecides.

Granted, it's possible that aquatic invertebrates might be temporarily impacted by copper-based treatments. But, I've never observed a copper-treatment's sustained impact on aquatic invertebrates. Then again, I have no dealings with koi-ponds.

On a side note, shown below is an excerpt from an article that I found interesting.


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#276946 - 01/06/12 11:25 PM Re: water softner draining into pond, any problems? [Re: Instar]
Kelly Duffie Offline
Lunker

Registered: 04/19/02
Posts: 1478
Loc: Cypress, TX (Helena A-E LLC))
I re-read it - several times - then copied and pasted the excerpt to avoid any alterations.
I read "Copper, at low levels, actually stimulates activity in both Nitrobacter and Nitrosomonas." and "Growth of Nitrosomonas is greatly inhibited (about 60%) by Copper concentrations of .20 ppm."
I'm confused!

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#276950 - 01/07/12 12:46 AM Re: water softner draining into pond, any problems? [Re: Kelly Duffie]
Instar Offline


Registered: 01/28/11
Posts: 201
Loc: Pensacola, Florida
That information was taken almost verbatim from this scientific study Growth of Nitrosomonas europaea in batch and continuous culture (Skinner & Walker 1960) I read it to mean that both bacteria specie are stimulated by Copper, but at 0.20 ppm and above Nitrosomonas is inhibited while Nitrobacter is still stimulated at least to levels of 0.50 ppm.
Sometimes these scientists don't quite speak the same language as the rest of us.


Edited by Instar (01/07/12 12:51 AM)

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#276954 - 01/07/12 01:18 AM Re: water softner draining into pond, any problems? [Re: Instar]
Kelly Duffie Offline
Lunker

Registered: 04/19/02
Posts: 1478
Loc: Cypress, TX (Helena A-E LLC))
1960! Wasn't that the year before Alan Shepard's first space-flight?
Have any follow-up studies occured on the subject since I was born? whistle

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#276955 - 01/07/12 02:08 AM Re: water softner draining into pond, any problems? [Re: Kelly Duffie]
Instar Offline


Registered: 01/28/11
Posts: 201
Loc: Pensacola, Florida
Not that I could find, but that is not surprising. Scientific studies are seldom repeated unless the initial results are in question or a new subject-related discovery is made. The scientific laws governing nature do not change.
Originally Posted By: Kelly Duffie
1960! Wasn't that the year before Alan Shepard's first space-flight?
Have any follow-up studies occured on the subject since I was born? whistle


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#276960 - 01/07/12 09:28 AM Re: water softner draining into pond, any problems? [Re: Kelly Duffie]
chrissnow Offline


Registered: 06/19/11
Posts: 56
Loc: Ohio
Copper isn't a problem since the water comes in from the well in plastic and is rubber or plastic to the water softner and the discharge line is pex plastic pipe.

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