August 15, 2018
By Cara Spoto
Effort aimed at reducing chloride levels in wastewater
Waukesha — State Department of Natural Resources standards requiring water utilities to reduce the amount of chlorides entering the sewer system have the city of Waukesha and the Waukesha Water Utility looking right at your water softener.
Chloride loadings in water can be harmful to fish and aquatic life, and their largest source is the salt used in water softeners.
Since salt usage can be reduced by as much as 50 percent through water softener optimization, the city is partnering with local water conditioning companies to retrofit the water softeners of Waukesha Water Utility Customers to make them more efficient.
According to a city memo, optimizing salt usage in water softeners will ensure that softeners use only the salt needed, reducing salt costs and handling while still providing softened water and reduced chlorides.
The city would pay for the bulk of the service calls, but customers would have to contribute a $10 copay, city officials write.
Phase one of the program would take place over the next four years. The plan is to start with higher volume users first.
Phase two of the program would not be proposed later as additional softener adjustments will be needed after the city switches over to Lake Michigan water.
Aldermen recently approved implementing the program, which is expected to cost roughly $270,000 over the course of the next three years.