Automatic Water Softener Rebates to be offered from $325 to $2,000.
A new automatic water softener rebate will give residents 100 percent of the reasonable value of their automatic water softener—from $325 up to $2,000—and will provide free removal and disposal by a licensed plumber in an effort to rid the valley of remaining automatic water softeners. By simplifying the removal process and offering a higher value for the rebate, the Santa Clarita Valley Sanitation District (Sanitation District) is further encouraging residents to discontinue the use of salt- or potassium-based automatic water softeners, which produce a salty waste that reaches the Santa Clara River and could harm downstream agriculture.
By taking advantage of this offer now, while their unit has the most value, residents will maximize their rebate dollars. Residents who filed for rebates under last year’s program will receive the difference. Santa Clarita residents no longer have to call in a costly plumber or arrange for disposal; this new rebate program will send a plumber to remove the system and haul it away, all for free.
“Most Santa Clarita Valley residents don’t have automatic water softeners, but everyone could experience quadrupled or higher sewer rates because of the softeners still in place,” said Steve Maguin, Chief Engineer and General Manager for the Sanitation District. “This rebate program addresses concerns of residents who have invested in a water softener, while working to avoid the significant cost of building unnecessary additional treatment facilities—a win-win situation for customers and the environment.”
The Sanitation District’s water reclamation plants provide extensive treatment and produce water equivalent in quality to drinking water, but do not remove salt. Current chloride discharge levels are above the level that the Regional Water Quality Control Board has established. If salt levels discharged into the river do not decrease, the Sanitation District may have to install additional treatment equipment resulting in Valley residents’ annual sewer bills more than quadrupling to $500 per household, because treatment for the removal and disposal of chloride may cost more than $350 million. If residents don’t remove their automatic water softeners now, the sewer bills may be higher forever.
In March 2003, it became illegal to install new automatic softeners in the Santa Clarita Valley. Through a response to public education efforts, the fraction of households in the Santa Clarita Valley operating automatic water softeners has dropped, but not enough to comply with the Regional Board’s strict chloride requirements for the Santa Clara River . With the new rebate program, the time has come for everyone to remove their automatic water softener.
“The Santa Clara River is the jewel of this community,” said Santa Clarita Mayor Marsha McLean. “Though we have made significant progress in reducing the number of automatic water softeners in Santa Clarita, to protect the river and its inhabitants, every resident needs to take advantage of this rebate program and remove their unit today.”
Alternatives to automatic waters softeners use salt-free water conditioning techniques that are not harmful to the Santa Clara River . Residents can easily identify the best replacement system for their home. The Sanitation District provides an interactive Web site that allows residents to research 30 alternative products, including reviews of the products by fellow Santa Clarita Valley residents. A full list of approved alternatives can be found at www.lacsd.org/chloride.
To qualify for the Water Softener Rebate Program the automatic water softener to be removed must use rock salt or potassium chloride. The automatic water softener must currently be installed in a house, multiplex, condominium, apartment, or mobile home that is located in the Santa Clarita Valley and connected to the sewer. All units must be removed from the residence to qualify, but only one rebate is allowed per address.
The Sanitation District serves the wastewater management and solid waste needs of the Santa Clarita Valley. The role of the Sanitation District is to construct, operate, and maintain a regional system to collect, treat and dispose of wastewater and to provide for management of solid wastes. The Directors of the Sanitation District are the mayor and a designated City Council member of Santa Clarita and the Chairperson of the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors.