Sep 02, 2010

PWQA Members Tour Inland Empire Utilities Agency

Attendees discussed concerns regarding water softened water

Several Pacific Water Quality Assn. (PWQA) Board of Directors and guests recently met at the Inland Empire Utilities Agency (IEUA) located in Chino, Calif., and toured the municipal water district recycled water production facility. The IEUA made a presentation to the group regarding salinity management, which includes Chino, Chino Hills, Fontana, Montclair, Ontario, Rancho Cucamonga, Upland and the Cucamonga Valley Water District and the Monte Visa Water District.

With the expected population growth of 1.2 million by 2025 and the prolonged drought, the IEUA is challenged to provide quality water without the need for costly and unreliable imported water. With recycled water as a core water supply strategy, the IEUA is tackling the legal requirement to reduce the amount of salinity in the water supplies as well as recycled wastewater.

“TDS is the single most important constraint to our recycled water and groundwater supplies,” according to Martha Davis, Executive Manager of Policy Development.

Prior to touring the facility, 12 PWQA attendees had the opportunity to discuss with the IEUA team concerns regarding the proposed ban on sales of new water softeners within the IEUA water district.

There were misconceptions among the technical staff of the IEUA regarding the need and benefits of softeners and softened water. PWQA had the opportunity to explain misconceptions and to further explain results of softened water. In addition, the subject of water softening versus water conditioning and product alternatives was discussed. Davis brought up the current study on the Evaluation of Alternatives to Domestic Ion Exchange Softeners conducted by Arizona State University and HDR Engineering. The IEUA is tracking this study.

The IEUA has a Regional Water Softener Task Force made up of members of the city and water agency representatives. PWQA has requested to be a part of the task force. At this time, however, PWQA is only allowed to participate in the dialogue. The PWQA group toured the recycling facility and was given an explanation of the recycle process as well where the recycled water is distributed.

As fall approaches, IEUA has promised to include WQA and PWQA in subsequent discussions on salinity and water softeners in the Inland Empire.