Voters Approve Water Softener Ban
Softeners to be removed to curb salination of groundwater.
In a move that will save the community tens of millions of
dollars, Santa Clarita Valley residents voted last week to approve Measure S,
which bans the use of all automatic water softeners. The ban, a tool to reduce
chloride (salt) in wastewater, will go into effect January 1, 2009 and will require all residents to remove
their units within 180 days. The Santa Clarita Valley Sanitation District
(District) will continue to offer rebates to automatic water softener owners
and pay for removal and disposal.
“Nearly two thirds of the community voted to approve this
environmentally sound measure to address the chloride problem in the Santa
Clarita Valley,” said Steve Maguin, Chief Engineer and General Manager for the
District. “By banning automatic water softeners, residents will protect the Santa
Clara River and
save a significant sum.”
Until the end of this year, the District will give residents
who qualify for the rebate 100 percent of the reasonable value of a
unit—between $275-$2,000—plus free removal and disposal of the unit. Residents
are encouraged to unplug immediately, as they will be compensated only 75
percent of their unit’s value beginning January
Automatic water softeners discharge a salty waste into the
sewer system which is treated and released into the Santa
Though the District’s two water reclamation plants provide a product which
meets drinking water standards, they do not remove salt. Once the reclaimed
water enters the Santa Clara River
, it poses potential problems for downstream agriculture if chloride levels are
too high. Removing all automatic water softeners will be a major step in the
battle against chloride and, while additional compliance measures will still be
necessary, costs to the community will be much lower than with the softeners
still in operation.
The installation of automatic water softeners—the kind to
which rock salt or potassium chloride pellets are added—has been banned since
2003. However an estimated 3,000 units, representing one in 25 households,
continue to be used in the Santa Clarita Valley. As of October 31, the District
through their rebate program has arranged for the removal of more than 3,500
automatic water softeners. The use of industrial and commercial automatic water
softeners has been banned since 1961.
The District serves the wastewater management needs of the
Santa Clarita Valley. The role of the District is to construct, operate,
and maintain a regional system to collect, treat, recycle and dispose of
wastewater. The Directors of the District are the mayor and a City
Council member of Santa Clarita and the Chairperson of the Los Angeles County
Board of Supervisors.
For more information on automatic water softeners, rebates
and alternatives please see the District’s website at www.lacsd.org/chloride
or call 1-877-CUT-SALT.