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Inspectors On the Prowl For Illegal Water Softeners

The Santa Clarita Valley Sanitation District is beginning a home inspection pilot program for illegal automatic water softeners. The District will focus efforts and request inspections in residences where data indicates that automatic water softeners may still exist or be in use. This program is part of the District’s continuing efforts to rid the community of illegal automatic water softeners and, thus, decrease the cost to the community of complying with State mandates for chloride (salt) in the District’s recycled water going to the Santa Clara River.

Nearly two thirds of Santa Clarita Valley voters approved Measure S, enacting the Santa Clara River Chloride Reduction Ordinance of 2008. The Ordinance required the removal and disposal of all automatic water softeners in homes connected to the sewer system. These water softeners, which use rock salt or potassium chloride pellets, send high levels of salt to the sewer system. Though the District’s two wastewater treatment plants produce high quality water that is suitable for recycling, they do not remove salt. The recycled water leaving the treatment plants exceeds the state-set salt limit.

“The Santa Clarita Valley community has made an outstanding effort in cooperating with the District on the removal of approximately 7,800 automatic water softeners,” said Grace Robinson Chan, Chief Engineer and General Manager for the District. “This has led to a very substantial decrease in the salt levels in the recycled water leaving the District’s water reclamation plants. Unfortunately, there are still illegal automatic water softeners in the community that need to be removed.”

Last year, the District mailed approximately 2,500 letters to residents suspected of having illegal automatic water softeners. This effort led to the removal of an additional 500 units. This home inspection pilot program will focus on the remaining units. If automatic water softeners are found, residents will be issued Notices of Violation, and will have 30 days to apply for a rebate and an additional 30 days after the receipt of an Authorization for Rebate letter, to remove the unit. Alternatively, residents may remove the units themselves. Residents who do not apply for a rebate or remove their units within 30 days of receiving a Notice of Violation may be fined $1,000.

The District serves the wastewater management needs of the Santa Clarita Valley. The agency protects public health and the environment by constructing, operating, and maintaining a regional system that collects, treats, recycles and disposes of sewage from homes and businesses in the Santa Clarita area.

For information on the automatic water softener ban and the Rebate Program, please visit www.lacsd.org/chloride or call 1-877-CUT-SALT. For more information on the Santa Clarita Valley Sanitation District’s Chloride Compliance efforts, please visit the District’s website at www.lacsd.org.