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Chloride For Businesses - FAQs
Chloride is one of the two components of sodium chloride, also known as table salt or rock salt. It is also one of the two components of potassium chloride, also known as potassium tablets or potassium crystals.
All wastewater generated at businesses, except for rainwater, goes into the sewer. In Santa Clarita, wastewater flows to either the Saugus or Valencia Water Reclamation Plant for treatment. These treatment plants are not designed to remove chloride, so the chloride passes through to the Santa Clara River. The Los Angeles Regional Water Quality Control Board (Regional Board) has set a water quality objective of 100 milligrams per liter (parts per million) for the Santa Clara River. Regional Board officials believe that this objective is necessary to protect salt sensitive agricultural crops, such as avocados and strawberries. Currently the concentration of chloride being discharged to the river is consistently above the acceptable level established by the Regional Board.
Chloride is found in the drinking water that comes from your tap (both local groundwater and water delivered through aqueducts from Northern California). Another source of chloride in wastewater is water softeners that regenerate at their installed locations, called automatic or self-regenerating water softeners. Additionally, chloride may also be added to wastewater via human waste, swimming pools, cooling towers, boilers, and cleaning chemicals such as chlorine bleach.
Water softeners exchange the calcium and magnesium (hardness) present in hard water for sodium or potassium. The calcium and magnesium adhere to resin in the softener. When the resin becomes saturated it is necessary to regenerate it. This is done by adding large amounts of sodium chloride or potassium chloride dissolved in water to the resin. The sodium or potassium displaces the calcium and magnesium, which is flushed to the sewer in a briny solution along with the chloride from the added sodium chloride or potassium chloride. When water softeners regenerate they produce a waste stream that contains significant amounts of chloride. Automatic water softeners, which do this regeneration on-site, add chloride to the sewer system in the Santa Clarita Valley. Exchange tank softeners that are regenerated at centralized off-site facilities do not produce a similar burden on the Santa Clarita Valley's sewer system.
If soft water is necessary for your business, you may use an exchange tank water softener that is regenerated off-site at a facility that can release salt discharges in accordance with a discharge permit. These types of water softeners are also known as canister-type softeners. There are local water conditioning businesses that offer exchange tank services. The cost varies depending on water usage and incoming water hardness.
Click for more information on water softener alternatives.
If your business is currently operating a water softener that regenerates on-site, you must immediately stop discharging brines from the unit into the sewer. If you put salt or potassium chloride in your softener or pay a water conditioning service to add salt or potassium chloride to the softener, then your softener regenerates on-site and can not be hooked up to the sewer. If someone changes out the tank in your softener on a regular basis, then you have an exchange tank system and can continue to use it. The Sanitation District regularly inspects local businesses to ensure that no automatic water softeners are connected to the sewer. Additionally, if you operate a swimming pool at your business you are required to implement certain management practices to reduce the chloride entering wastewater from your pool. Please contact the Sanitation District for more information.
If you have questions or would like more information about chloride restrictions at your business, please contact Preeti Ghuman of the Industrial Waste Section at 562-908-4288, extension 2904 or
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