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water softeneing and the enviroment pub softener


water softeneing and the enviroment pub softener

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									                                                                 Water Softening
                                                               and the Environment
                                                                     The Effects of
                                                              Water Softening and Salt Use
                                                                  on the Environment
The salt used by each homeowner's softener         How does a Water Softener Work?                          Places to "Feed" softened water are:
ultimately ends up in neighboring lakes,           In many Wisconsin communities, people use water              Hot water heater
streams, rivers, and groundwater. Also, the        softeners to remove minerals from their water that           Laundry facilities
salt spread on roads, driveways and sidewalks      cause hardness. An ion exchange process is the tradi-        Dishwashers
ends up in lakes, streams, rivers, and ground-     tional method of removing hardness from water.               Toilets (consider low flush models)
water. The cumulative effects of the salt used     Hard water passes through a column .of sodium                Showers
can have toxic effects for aquatic plants and
                                                   charged resin, where hard water ions such as calcium
animals.                                                                                                     Places to Bypass Using the Water Softener
                                                   and magnesium are removed from the water by ex-
                                                   changing places with the resin bound sodium ions.        Include:
Why Is Salt A Problem?
Based on estimates from the Salt Institute of
                                                   The water is then said to be "softened".                 ▪ Outside water spigots for yard use
America, in 2005 Americans' spent approxi-                                                                  Cold tap drinking water lines
mately $359 million to purchase 3.7 million
                                                   The resin is "exhausted" when it has given
tons of salt for use in water softeners.           up all or most of its available sodium ions.              By softening more water than what is really
                                                   The resin is then "recharged" with sodium                needed, you increase the cost of operating your
The primary salt utilized in home water sof-       ions during a process known as regeneration.             softener (in terms in increased payments for salt
teners is sodium chloride (NaCl), a naturally      During this process, the resin is washed with a con-     and energy), and ultimately, more salt will enter
occurring and commonly used substance.             centrated brine solution (most often NaC1) that re-      the environment as a result of increased softener
NaCl normally breaks down into sodium              verses the hardness removal process.                     regenerations.
(Na+) and chloride (Cl-). These elements are
discharged to the local wastewater treatment       What Can I Do to Reduce My Salt                           Use minimum salt usage needed for
plant via sanitary sewers. It passes through       Usage?                                                   regeneration - Water softener regeneration
[he treatment plant and is discharged to sur-      If you find it necessary to soften your water, soften    is most efficient at the beginning of the
face water, where the chloride may impact          only the water that needs to be softened. If you are     brine cycle. The higher the salt dosage in
freshwater organisms and plants, from plank-       building a new house, remodeling bathrooms or            the cycle, the lower the regeneration
ton to fish, by altering reproduction rates,       kitchens, replace old plumbing or installing a new       efficiency.
increasing species mortality and changing the
                                                   water softener, consider where your water needs to
characteristics of the entire local ecosystem.                                                               By setting your water softener to regenerate more
                                                   be softened. Work with your plumber to connect
In addition, as chloride filters down to the
                                                   your water softener to only those areas that need sof-   frequently and using less salt for each regenera-
water table, it can stress plant respiration and
                                                   tened water.                                             tion, you may be able to increase your softener's
change the desirability of our drinking water.
                                                                                                            regeneration efficiency, which could result in sig-
                                                                                                            nificant salt savings for you.
Consult a qualified water softener represen-      Also, use salt on sidewalks and driveways
tative for details on how to adjust your water    wisely. Carefully spread the salt on your
softener to minimize salt usage while retain-     driveway and walks so it does not
ing enough softened water for normal house-       overshoot the intended area. Also, use only
hold use.                                         the amount of salt that is required to melt
                                                  the ice and snow.
Switching from a Timer to a Demand
Initiated Regeneration Control -                   To reduce or eliminate NaC1, our best alternative
Many water softeners regenerate based on a        is preventing the pollution at the
timer typically set to regenerate once every 2    source of its generation - before it creates a
or 3 days, depending on expected water us-        more serious environmental problem.
age and water hardness. By measuring actual       Please do your part.
demand on the water softener, "demand ini-
tiated regeneration", or DIR controls are
much more efficient in the regeneration
process. These controls use either, a flow            An Environmental Awareness Message
meter or a hardness sensor to determine                        brought to you by:
when to begin the cycle. The "payback"                 The Wisconsin Department of Natural
period for adding a DIR control to your wa-                         Resources
ter softener from reduced salt usage can be                            and
as little as three years. Check with your local        New Holstein's Wastewater Treatment
qualified water softening representative to                           Plant
see what is appropriate for your particular
needs. Even if a newer, more efficient water
softener is not in your immediate future, you
can still optimize the efficiency of your
home unit, resulting in savings for you and
the environment.

Installing low flow shower heads, low flush
toilets, and only watering your lawn in the
evening d help to reduce the volume of
water softened.

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