Tuesday, April 24 , 2018, 11:39 pm | Overcast 54º


Water Softner Systems Hard on Santa Ynez River Basin

The city of Solvang is asking residents to voluntarily turn down or disconnect their self‐regenerating (automatic) water softeners for the next several months.

Solvang water supply currently consists of 90 percent soft State water, unlike at other times, when State water makes up only about half of the water supply.

Public Works Director, Matt van der Linden said: “When state water is our primary source of supply our water is much softer than when city well water is our primary source.”

State water comes from a surface water source and is naturally soft. State water contains far less dissolved minerals, such as calcium, that make water hard. Therefore, running a water softener at this time is unnecessary.

The purpose of a water softener is to remove hardness. Self-regenerating water softeners achieve this in most cases by using salt (sodium chloride). Repeatedly, the self‐regenerating water softener has to recharge so it can continue to remove hardness.

One to three times per week, during the recharge process, a significant amount of salt solution (from 40 to as much as 150 gallons) is discharged to the sanitary sewer. This is about 30 pounds of salt per month per house discharged to the sewer.

The city’s wastewater treatment plant is not designed to remove salts from the water. Therefore, salts put into the sanitary sewer pass through the wastewater treatment plant, and are released into the Santa Ynez River basin, van der Linden said.

“Over time, salt impairs the groundwater quality and hurts the ecosystem of plants and animals unable to adjust to the increase,” said van der Linden.

Beyond this temporary change, residents are asked to consider using alternative softening methods, such as switching to a portable exchange-tank water softening unit.

— Lisa S. Martin for Public Works Departments.

  • Ask
  • Vote
  • Investigate
  • Answer

Noozhawk Asks: What’s Your Question?

Welcome to Noozhawk Asks, a new feature in which you ask the questions, you help decide what Noozhawk investigates, and you work with us to find the answers.

Here’s how it works: You share your questions with us in the nearby box. In some cases, we may work with you to find the answers. In others, we may ask you to vote on your top choices to help us narrow the scope. And we’ll be regularly asking you for your feedback on a specific issue or topic.

We also expect to work together with the reader who asked the winning questions to find the answer together. Noozhawk’s objective is to come at questions from a place of curiosity and openness, and we believe a transparent collaboration is the key to achieve it.

The results of our investigation will be published here in this Noozhawk Asks section. Once or twice a month, we plan to do a review of what was asked and answered.

Thanks for asking!

Click Here to Get Started >

Support Noozhawk Today

You are an important ally in our mission to deliver clear, objective, high-quality professional news reporting for Santa Barbara, Goleta and the rest of Santa Barbara County. Join the Hawks Club today to help keep Noozhawk soaring.

We offer four membership levels: $5 a month, $10 a month, $25 a month or $1 a week. Payments can be made through PayPal below, or click here for information on recurring credit-card payments.

Thank you for your vital support.

Maestro, Mastercard, Visa, American Express, Discover, Debit

Reader Comments

Noozhawk is no longer accepting reader comments on our articles. Click here for the announcement. Readers are instead invited to submit letters to the editor by emailing them to [email protected]. Please provide your full name and community, as well as contact information for verification purposes only.

Daily Noozhawk

Subscribe to Noozhawk's A.M. Report, our free e-Bulletin sent out every day at 4:15 a.m. with Noozhawk's top stories, hand-picked by the editors.

Sign Up Now >

Meet Your Realtor Sponsored by Village Properties

Photo of Elizabeth Wagner
Elizabeth Wagner
"I consider myself to be an up front and honest agent and willing to talk my clients out of purchasing a property that isn’t right for them or won’t meet their needs in a year or two."

Full Profile >