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Residential Water Softening

Most residential water sources, whether municipal or on-site wells, contain hardness (calcium and magnesium ions). Hardness ions cause scaling in heaters, humidifiers, fixtures and pipes leaving hard spots and deposits that can restrict the flow and create energy losses and a lot of extra work. Hard water also precipitates with soaps causing soap scum that leaves rough and scratchy residues on bed linens, towels and clothing that can lead to shorter fabric life, not to mention, the need for higher levels of detergent. Hardness in the water also traps alkali used in laundry soap, creating a high pH residue that clings to the fabric and can lead to the development of skin allergies and eczema.

The conventional treatment of choice for solving these problems is to install whole house water softeners using ion exchange resins that use common salts such as sodium or potassium chloride as a regenerant (to restore capacity). With the increased pressure to minimize the excess of salt that is discharged to the drain (or septic system), local regulatory agencies are fighting to restrict residential water softener usage under the misguided theory that all of their discharge problems on TDS creep would go away.

The residential softener is a highly visible contributor to the TDS problem but it is not the only source of salinity in discharge water as the locals would have you believe. A single textile dye house or a small power generation station using 800 gpm of city water containing 20 grains per gallon of hardness must soften their water to keep their respective plant operating. In the course of a month, such plants can use over 300,000 lbs of salt to regenerate their softeners. This equates to about the same amount of brine discharge as 6600 households using automatic softeners. With a 20% market penetration, that is equivalent to a community of over 30,000 homes and more than 100,000 residents.

We urge you to support the Water Quality Association and the Pacific Water Quality Association to right this unjust finger pointing and fight for you right to protect your home and family from the detrimental effects of hard water.