[Indianapolis AP - The environmental movement appears to be making headway in it's campaign to prohibit water softeners that use salt. More than 25 communities in California have already banned or restricted the use of such water softeners on the grounds that they are hazardous to the environment. The California communities include cities in such counties as Los Angeles, SanDiego, Orange, San Bernardino, Riverside, Kern, Ventura, Santa Barbara, San Marco, and Tulare. Typical of the California laws is an ordinance passed by the board of Supervisors of the County of San Diego, which says "The discharge of water softener brine wastes into District sewers shall be prohibited in accordance with the provisions of this section. The section is intended to apply to all districts where the districts final treated wastewater effluent is discharged to inland disposal or water reclamation used."
In a letter to one concerned citizen the executive director of the Santa Ana Region of the California Regional Water Quality Control wrote:
"The problem with salt softeners is that they exchange sodium for hardness materials (such as calcium and magnesium) at the rate of 2:1" The sodium then enters the wastewater system and is discharged to the Santa Ana River following treatment. Since the Santa Ana River recharges ground water for Orange county, It is imperative that dissolved salts are kept to a minimum to avoid eventual degradation of drinking water supplies. "Widespread use of salt softeners could have a substantial impact on dissolved salts.... Unfortunately, many homeowners like yourself have invested several hundred dollars in a salt softener only to find it cannot be used.]