Company to Remove Water Softeners, Reduce Chloride Discharge

Guaranteed Water Systems will remove by 2009 approximately 50 automatic water softeners currently rented to Santa Clarita Valley, Calif., residents. This voluntary agreement with the Santa Clarita Valley Sanitation District of Los Angeles County will reduce chloride levels in the discharge of highly treated wastewater and thus help to protect the Santa Clara River.

Approximately one-fourth of the remaining automatic water softener units in the Santa Clarita Valley are rented to residents. Guaranteed's agreement will not affect portable exchange or alternative units, which are not problematic, because they do not add salt to the water before it enters the sewer.

"The agreement to remove all of their salt-discharging water softeners in the Santa Clarita Valley will make a positive contribution to the community by improving water quality … and helping to avoid costly wastewater charge increases that would impact rate payers," said Steve Maguin, chief engineer and general manager for the district. "Getting these units out of the community is a high priority, and we appreciate the efforts of Guaranteed Water Systems to help accomplish this goal."

In an effort to rid the valley of remaining automatic water softeners, the district launched a new automatic water softener rebate program in May, offering residents 100 percent of the reasonable value of their automatic water softener -- ranging from $325 up to $2,000 -- as well as free removal and disposal by a licensed plumber. 

"Guaranteed is very pleased to work with the Sanitation District to remove automatic water softeners in the Santa Clarita Valley," said Guaranteed representative Bud Lantzy. "We want to do our part to help protect the Santa Clara River. Guaranteed plans on offering all of their automatic water softener customers acceptable alternatives for their water treatment needs."

The district's water reclamation plants produce water equivalent in quality to drinking water but do not remove salt. Current chloride discharge levels are above State Regional Water Quality Control Board requirements. If salt levels discharged into the river do not decrease, the district may have to install additional treatment equipment resulting in residents' annual sewer bills increasing to more than $500 per household, because treatment for chloride may cost more than $350 million.
 
In March 2003, it became illegal to install new automatic water softeners in the Santa Clarita Valley. The fraction of households in the Valley operating automatic water softeners has dropped but not enough to comply with chloride requirements.
 
Alternatives to automatic waters softeners use salt-free water conditioning techniques that are not harmful to the Santa Clara River. Residents can easily identify the best replacement system for their home. The district provides an interactive Web site that allows residents to research 50 alternative products, including reviews of the products by fellow Santa Clarita Valley residents.

For more information on automatic water softeners and salt, visit the district's Web site at www.lacsd.org/chloride.

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