The Santa Clarita Valley Sanitation District has mailed approximately 2,500 letters to residents suspected of having illegal automatic water softeners.
This targeted mailing is part of an enforcement program by the District to rid the community of banned automatic water softeners and to decrease the cost to the community of complying with State mandates through the Regional Water Quality Control Board for chloride (salt) in the District's discharge to the Santa Clara River.
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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, discharge high levels of salt to the sewer system. Though the District's two wastewater reclamation plants produce high quality water that is suitable for recycling, they do not remove salt. The treated water leaving the treatment plants exceeds the state-set salt limit.
"The District has successfully removed approximately 7,300 automatic water softeners as a result of the implementation of a Rebate and Public Outreach Program in the valley," said Steve Maguin, Chief Engineer and General Manager for the District.
"This has led to a very substantial decrease in the salt levels in the water leaving the District's water reclamation plants. Unfortunately, there are many illegal automatic water softeners still in the community with an estimated 500 of them discharging to the sewer system."
"This Enforcement Program will help remove the remaining automatic water softeners in the community. It will further lower the salt concentration in the water going to the river and ultimately save Santa Clarita Valley residents and businesses a substantial sum of money," said Marsha McLean, Mayor of the City of Santa Clarita.
Residents who still have illegal automatic water softeners 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. For residents who received an enforcement letter and no longer have an illegal automatic water softener, they will have 30 days to complete a questionnaire and return it to the District.
Home inspections will be conducted for residents that do not respond to the enforcement letters. If automatic water softeners are found, residents will be issued Notices of Violation and 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 wastewater. The Directors of the District are the mayor and a City Council member from Santa Clarita and the chairperson of the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors.
For more information on the automatic water softener ban and the Rebate Program, please visit the District's website at www.lacsd.org/chloride  or call 1-877-CUT-SALT.