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Softening water for grey water system

 
Cd Anderson
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So we finally got our water test results back and the hardness is 355.4 with a ph of 8.2!! I can only imagine the chemicals they must have used to get rid of any evidence of such hard water! So what can I do? Traditional water softener is just salt, which is not going to be good for my plants (right?) So what would you do to naturally soften the water before it comes into the house?
 
S Bengi
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Location: Massachusetts, Zone:6/7, AHS:4, Rainfall:48in even distribution
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Why do you want to soften the water,
Is it for clothes use vinegar.
Is it for drinking, then activated carbon/biochar/charcoal. Should do the job.
Think about using rainwater or at least using 1/2 and 1/2. Rain water is too soft ph of 5. So the average (8+5)/2= 7ish, just where you want it.
 
John Elliott
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Cd Anderson wrote:So we finally got our water test results back and the hardness is 355.4 with a ph of 8.2!! I can only imagine the chemicals they must have used to get rid of any evidence of such hard water! So what can I do? Traditional water softener is just salt, which is not going to be good for my plants (right?) So what would you do to naturally soften the water before it comes into the house?


What you can do is build a cistern and a rain catchment system and use that for all your soft water needs.

I can sympathize with your situation. I spent a few years in Carlsbad, New Mexico. Maybe you've heard of the place, home of Carlsbad Caverns and Lechugilla Cave? Well, all those caves were formed by water dissolving minerals from the limestone bedrock and carrying them off into the ground water. Which then becomes the city/county water supply and gets piped to your house. If you had a drip in your shower, you could grow stalagmites and stalactites in no time. It does take some getting used to, and in the meantime you learn a lot of useful chemistry.

But look on the bright side, your tomatoes should never get blossom end rot (a lack of calcium disorder).

Water softener loops exchange sodium for calcium, which gives the water that slippery feel and makes it toxic for plants. One thing you can do is to buy potassium chloride (KCl) instead of regular salt (NaCl) for your water softener loop, and then your grey water would be potassium enriched and actually fertilize your plants. Some home stores sell it in 40 lb. bags, and it is more expensive than regular salt.
 
S Bengi
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Location: Massachusetts, Zone:6/7, AHS:4, Rainfall:48in even distribution
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the hard water is actually rich in balanced mineral and healthier than the slippery sodium water. Both your body and plants will love it.
 
Cd Anderson
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S Bengi wrote:the hard water is actually rich in balanced mineral and healthier than the slippery sodium water. Both your body and plants will love it.
I know, but it's not so good for our appliances. Scale build up is hard on pipes, washers, hot water heaters etc... Not to mention how it interferes with the functionality of soap. We are discussing how we could possibly separate the intake water so we have drinking water that still has the minerals but then the appliances would be conditioned/softened.

Unfortunately it's unlikely that rain catchment would be sufficient. We average 34" of rain a year. We'd need a very large roof to catch enough water. The potassium chloride is an idea. We're also looking at Nucleation Assisted Crystallization, though I'm having trouble finding information on how well the body utilizes the crystallized minerals.
 
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