Monday, July 16 , 2018, 7:51 pm | Fair 72º


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.


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