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Sun Jun 16, 2019, 05:41 PM

Keep Water Softeners from Harming Our Waters

A water-softening system is designed to reduce dissolved minerals in hard water. These minerals primarily include manganese, magnesium, calcium, and metals such as ferrous iron ions, which can cause several types of issues, including the following:

• These ions make soap and detergent basically useless. The metal ions react with soaps and detergents, eliminating their ability to form a precipitate and lather. When water is softened, you will need fewer detergents and soaps for laundry and cleaning. Softened water also lengthens the longevity of textile and fabric through numerous wash cycles.
• The ions in the electrolyte can also cause metal corrosion in the plumbing system in homes and commercial spaces.
• Magnesium and calcium carbonates cause scale buildup, as they tend to stick and attach to the surfaces of water hears and pipes. These also cause boilers to insulate, impairing water from heating. For this reason, the boiler will need more energy to heat the water. With softened water, you can save energy.

Safety Concerns with Water Softeners

The main issue with hard water is that it is abundant with minerals, particularly magnesium and calcium. These minerals may be harmless to human health, but they do cause several problems within the household.

As mentioned, it is difficult for water to lather well when it is hard. With hard water, your hair will turn out dull, your laundry dingy, and your dishes dirty and spotty. In worst cases, your plumbing system will be affected because of the hard-mineral scale buildup in the hot water tank and the entire plumbing system. You end up wasting a lot of energy since your water heater or boiler needs work too much to bring water to heat, raising your carbon footprint and wasting your money.

Water softeners have long been used to address this problem. The process of softening water effectively removes minerals in the water and replace them with salts – usually sodium chloride – through the ion exchange process. In turn, you won’t have to deal with residue in dishes, laundry, and your skin; and it also protects your boiler in the process.

Though salt-based water softener systems have their advantages, they, unfortunately, cause problems in the environment:

1. Excess usage of water: Through a process called regeneration, water is able to flush itself regularly. According to the EPA, however, a conventional water softener uses approximately 25 gallons daily, or up to 10,000 gallons yearly.
2. Salt buildup in our waters: Sodium chloride ends up getting released into the environment, affecting streams, rivers, and aquifers, especially in places where high concentrations of salts are already recorded because of activities such as agricultural runoff and road salt application.

Be Kind to Our Waters: Avoid Salt-Based Water Softeners

Salt, both chloride ions and sodium ions, pose serious threats to the environment including destroying the biochemical balance in the soil and damaging marine and aquatic life in the discharge areas, be it oceans, lakes, or rivers.

It costs a lot of money to remove salt from the treated wastewater, so the best thing we can do is reduce salt discharge into the sewers from the get-go. We can avoid discharging a lot of salt into waters by using newer and safer water softening systems. These salt-free systems do the work without harming the environment.

To minimize the problem caused traditional water softeners, the EPA has set water quality standards the minimize the amount of chloride released into the environment by water treatment plants. It's a good thing that a lot of communities are now void of using salt water softeners. In fact, some communities in the US have now restricted or completely banned the use of salt-based water softener systems.


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Reply Keep Water Softeners from Harming Our Waters (Original post)
kat3rinamarquez Jun 2019 OP
Karadeniz Jun 2019 #1

Response to kat3rinamarquez (Original post)

Sun Jun 16, 2019, 08:21 PM

1. I've heard of an alternative to salt-based softeners...potassium? Does anyone know about that?

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