Chlorides: the good, the bad, the ugly.
The good: Many commercial and industrial processes rely on high-quality water. The raw water coming into our facilities can vary considerably picking up ions from calcium, magnesium and other minerals that make the water “hard.” Commercial softeners play an important role in helping to remove these minerals and make the water suitable for facility use.
The bad: The salt that is used during the softening process helps to soften the water, but also results in chloride being discharged down the drain. The chloride that is washed down the drain is very hard to treat using conventional wastewater methods. Chlorides are not removed by settling or biodegrading and will pass from the plant and into the environment unless additional treatment options are used. For every $1 spent on salt to pre-treat water, it costs $25 to remove the excess chlorides during wastewater treatment.
The ugly: Too much chloride can be destructive to piping and can produce hydrochloric acid which is highly corrosive. Chlorides also have a negative impact on the environment and have the potential to change our ecosystem by stressing animal and plant life and altering the taste of our drinking water.
Incentives to Modify How We Use Chlorides and Reward Reduced Usage
The DNR has enacted regulations to reduce the discharge of chlorides to help protect the environment. It is important to identify ways we can cut down on salt usage to meet these limits. Due to the fact that chloride is very hard to treat, some municipalities are offering chloride reduction grant programs to help facilities make changes and reduce salt use. Madison Metropolitan Sewerage District is one example that offers several options for grants and rebates to help reduce usage. Below are some options that could have a positive impact on your business.
What steps can facilities take to reduce salt use?
Below are a few ways to reduce salt use, while still maintaining high-quality water:
- System optimization: Verify how your softener is functioning. Have your Watertech representative test the hardness of your water and make sure your softener control program is optimized to meet your specific needs.
- Softener upgrade: Adding a new higher-efficiency model can help reduce salt usage. A new system can save as much as 48% on salt use.
- Resin replacement: When the resin in your softener gets old it operates less efficiently. Your water treatment representative can analyze your system and identify if it is time to replace your resin.
- Brine reclaim system: A brine reclamation system will divert part of the brine used during regeneration back to the brine tank. Reclaiming some of the salt brine during the regeneration process can result in as much as 25% less salt usage.
- Add by-passes: If you do not require softened water for all processes in your facility, add plumbing to bypass the softener and only soften the water that is needed.
What are some of the top chloride contaminant sources in the Midwest?
- Road salt
- Water softener salt
The Benefits of Reducing Chloride
Making changes in how you use salt in your facility can help protect our fresh water resources, and potentially reduce your operating costs. Check with your local municipalities to see if you can take advantage of an incentives or offers to make upgrades. Your Watertech representative can help you outline a plan to reduce chloride use in your facility.