A wastewater treatment plant (WWTP) is designed to remove pollutants from the influent or untreated wastewater coming into the plant before the water is released into the environment via the effluent or treated wastewater leaving the plant. Wastewater treatment plants are very efficient at removing many things found in the waste stream but some things cannot be removed with conventional processes. One element that can’t be removed is chloride. Chloride passes through a treatment plant and is discharged to the receiving stream without being removed. Above a certain concentration, chloride will degrade the water quality of a stream.
The New Holstein WWTP is working towards reducing the chlorides in our effluent, with a long term goal of keeping it below water quality levels prescribed by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.
The best way to reduce chlorides in the effluent is to reduce the amount entering the sewer. One of the main sources of chloride is from home water softeners. In a water softener, hard water passes through the resin in the softener, and the hardness (calcium and magnesium) is removed because it sticks to the resin. After a time the resin get full of the hardness and the softener regenerates. When a softener regenerates salt, (sodium chloride) is used as to wash the resin as the hardness bonds more easily to salt than the resin. In the end, the hardness along with the salt (chloride) goes down the drain and eventually ends up at the WWTP.
This is where we need your help. Have your water softener serviced by a qualified technician to be sure your softener is operating correctly. If your water softener seems to be using more salt than normal, the softener needs to be looked at. Visually inspect your water lines because not all water used in the home requires softening, such as drinking water, or outside faucets. If your water passes through the softener before going to these faucets, consider having a plumber make the necessary changes. If you own your softener, when it’s time to replace it, be sure to install a high efficiency unit with self metering. New Holstein City ordinance 14.03(5) (g), requires that water softeners being installed shall have DIR (Demand Initiated Regeneration) controls and have a minimum salt efficiency of 3350 grains of hardness per pound of salt. A building permit is required for the installation of new water softeners not installed by New Holstein Utilities to ensure that the efficiency standards are met. If you currently rent a non-DIR water softener from New Holstein Utilities, we are in the process of upgrading those units to meet the requirements of the ordinance.
Please help us to protect our environment while at the same time keep the cost of wastewater treatment as low as possible.