It’s All In The Details

Jan 14, 2011

Of course most of you know what water softeners are and what they do. And, if you already own one, you know that they are “green” in their own right by allowing you to use less soap and harsh cleaning chemicals, by giving your water heaters and dishwashers longer life spans – keeping them out of the landfill, and by allowing all of your appliances to use less energy. But, more popular lately, is the discussion of how harmful water softeners are on the environment, dumping water and salt down the drain. Here in California, traditional water softeners were banned for these reasons.

That meant if you were pleasantly used to having the benefits of soft water, you were suddenly thrust back into the stark world of limp lifeless hair, water-spotted glasses, dingy shower doors, and plugged up showerheads. The good news is that a handful of water treatment companies have been proactive enough to see that legislation coming and find an eco-friendly way to deliver soft water. In our industry, we call it a metered system or PE Tank Service, but we’ll let you call it convenience. To you, it simply means that you can lawfully and with a good green conscience enjoy softened water.

Here’s the detailed scoop. Our water softeners all measure the amount of water being used and perform internal processes based on that water usage, rather than simply backwashing when a clock says that it’s 2:00am. For a typical family of four, that could mean that 85 gallons of water and 11 pounds of salt are NOT dumped down the drain every single day. Next, instead of having the traditional brine tank that backwashes itself into the sewer, a portable exchange tank can capture all the contaminants and store them. When the tank is spent, a technician comes and replaces the tank with a new tank. As the homeowner, you no longer have to buy and carry heavy bags of salt, pay for water that you never see, or worry about what your household is doing to the environment.

Spent tanks are gathered up from all the homes in your community and taken to a controlled environment where they are regenerated all at once. During this process, all the tanks are emptied into a large vat and the resin is backwashed at one time. This clean resin is put back into the tanks and are ready to go back to work in neighborhood homes. The water and salt brine that was used to regenerate the tanks is not dumped into the sewer. Instead, it is captured, filtered, and reused in the next regeneration cycle. The contaminants that are filtered out are captured, cleaned, and hauled away to be recycled into feed stock and other products. The total sum of the process? Zero salt was discharged, no water was wasted, and the byproduct was recycled.

If 100 homes used exchange tank services, in just one year, 3 million gallons of water would be saved, 400,000 pounds of salt would be prevented from entering the waste water system, and waste water treatment operating costs would be drastically reduced. So, if you think softened water was a joy of the past, don’t give up. Call a water treatment company that offers exchange tank service – and start enjoying your water and your environment again.

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