Water Softening and Chloride
Much of the water used for drinking, washing, and heating comes from the ground. While water is in the ground, it interacts with rocks and minerals. Some areas use groundwater that’s been interacting with minerals for hundreds of thousands of years or more! When water is used, those dissolved minerals can actually inhibit the process it’s being used for. Water softening is one way to remove those minerals from the water, but the practice often contributes excess amounts of chloride to the environment as a result. Fine-tuning water softening practices to optimize and decrease salt use is the only way to protect our water from this form of pollution.
Fortin has worked on with the University of Minnesota to identify contributions of chloride from water softening in the state of Minnesota. FCI staff looked specifically at residential water softening, identifying practices to help reduce the amount of salt entering our waters from this source. You can find the finished products of that project at the University of Minnesota Water Resources Center website.
More on water softening (and other chloride topics) is hosted here by the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency.