Chloride Sources

Water Softeners

Initial studies indicate that approximately 100,000 water softeners are tributary to MMSD’s Nine Springs Wastewater Treatment Plant.        

  • Optimize water softeners
    • Call a professional to look over your softener and adjust it to perform as optimally as possible:
      • Set softeners to use 6-lbs per regeneration
      • Confirm that the reserve capacity is set as low as possible.
      • Verify that your salt (brine) tank has only 1.5 to 2-feet of water. If you have more than that, you could be significantly overusing salt – which is sending more chloride to our streams, costing your money and causing you to carry too many bags of salt!
    • Replace time-clock softeners (20+ year old) – these models are particularly wasteful of both water and salt. Wisconsin’s plumbing code has not allowed these models in 20-years.
    • If you’re in the market for a new water softener, look for a dual tank system and/or a softener that exceeds 4000 grains of hardness removed per pound of salt used.


Many industrial customers are finding ways to reduce the chloride that flows to the wastewater treatment plant while saving money for their operations. We are hoping to find more of these throughout our tributary area. Some of the success stories include:

  • Brine Reclaim on water softening systems (has reduced salt use by 25% in many large-scale softening systems).
  • Electromagnetic descaling technologies (on chiller systems, this technology has allowed the elimination of water softening and salt!)
  • Plant optimization procedures
We are happy to work with any industry to help reduce salt uses. Please contact Ralph Erickson or Kathy Lake.