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SOFTENER BAN MAY BE GOING BEFORE VOTERS FARMERS CLAIM CHLORIDES DAMAGE STRAWBERRY CROPS.



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 FARRELL AIDEM

Staff Writer

SANTA CLARITA Santa Clarita, city (1990 pop. 110,642), Los Angeles co., S Calif., suburb 30 mi (48 km) NW of downtown Los Angeles, on the Santa Clara River; inc. 1987. Situated in the Santa Clara valley and nearby canyons, Santa Clarita includes the former towns of Canyon Country,  -- Water softeners working away in Santa Clarita garages are threatening strawberry fields some 40 miles away, where the crops draw well water from a riverbed running from the suburbs through the farmland.

And it could be up to local voters to decide what to do.

A ballot measure that would outlaw most softeners in the Santa Clarita Valley The Santa Clarita Valley is the valley of the Santa Clara River in Southern California. It stretches through Los Angeles County and Ventura County. Its main population center is the city of Santa Clarita. The valley was part of the 48,612-acre (19,672.  is a possibility for a 2008 ballot. If it doesn't pass, residents could face a hefty property tax hike -- as much as $400 a year -- to finance a $350 million desalination desalination
 or desalting

Removal of dissolved salts from seawater and from the salty waters of inland seas, highly mineralized groundwaters, and municipal wastewaters.
 system, said Paul Martyn, head of the industrial waste section for the Los Angeles Los Angeles (lôs ăn`jələs, lŏs, ăn`jəlēz'), city (1990 pop. 3,485,398), seat of Los Angeles co., S Calif.; inc. 1850.  County Sanitation Districts.

"Since only one in 11 households has a water softener, I can guess which way that vote would go," Martyn said.

The board of the district governing the Santa Clarita Valley is looking at putting the measure on the local ballot in June or November 2008, Martyn said. If approved, the ban would take effect in 2009.

The problem involves chlorides, or salts, in the Santa Clarita Valley's treated wastewater, which come primarily from the kind of softeners that process bags of salt to neutralize harsh minerals in the water. The residue remains after the sewage is treated and pumped from two wastewater plants into the Santa Clara River Santa Clara River may refer to:
  • Santa Clara River (California), a river in Southern California, United States.
  • Santa Clara River (Utah), a river in Utah, United States
  • Carmen River, a river in Mexico that is sometimes called the Santa Clara River
, which flows through Ventura County's farmland to the ocean.

Farmers there say the salt in the water they pump from the riverbed for irrigation irrigation, in agriculture, artificial watering of the land. Although used chiefly in regions with annual rainfall of less than 20 in. (51 cm), it is also used in wetter areas to grow certain crops, e.g., rice.  damages delicate crops such as strawberries and avocados.

For several years they've seen "tip burn," a condition where the tips of leaves turn brown because of high levels of chloride in the water, said Rex Laird, chief executive officer of the Farm Bureau of Ventura County, a nonprofit trade group with 1,700 members.

Under the state's Clean Water Act, which prohibits upstream users from degrading water used downstream for "beneficial purposes" such as agriculture, Ventura County farmers are demanding action and the state is backing them up.

Upstream water treatment plants face a 2013 deadline to cut chlorides to 100 milligrams per liter. So far they've achieved 130 mpl to 140 mpl, but the numbers plateaued and the main culprit is water softeners.

"We're not looking to be punitive about this," Laird said. "All we're asking is that everyone play by the same set of rules and that set of rules is the Clean Water Act."

For five years, the Years, The

the seven decades of Eleanor Pargiter’s life. [Br. Lit.: Benét, 1109]

See : Time
 county district and the city of Santa Clarita have been urging residents to get rid of water softeners that send salts into sewers. Canister-style softeners are acceptable because they are cleaned off-site and the brine brine

a salt solution used in the curing of meat. Standard ingredients are sodium chloride (15 to 30%) and sodium nitrate (0.15 to 1.50%) but many other ingredients may be added for special effects.


brine shrimp
see artemia.
 discarded elsewhere, Martyn said.

In March 2003, the city banned new salt-processing water softeners. Rebate programs followed, including one now that offers residents "reasonable value" up to $2,000 and free removal and disposal of their softeners.

Last week, one of the larger suppliers, Rayne Water Corp., agreed to remove, by the end of 2008, nearly 600 automatic water softeners rented to Santa Clarita Valley residents.

Martyn said he's hoping a similar deal will be cut with other companies, including Culligan.

Ventura County itself is beginning to act. The City Council in Fillmore, where chlorides measure 155 mpl in wastewater, established a citizen committee in June to begin looking at ways to band the problem water softeners. Last week, the Santa Paula Santa Paula (săn`tə pôl`ə), city (1990 pop. 25,062), Ventura co., S Calif., on the Santa Clara River in a fertile valley that yields citrus fruits, avocados, vegetables, flowers, nursery products, and walnuts; laid out 1875, inc.  City Council discussed technology needed to reduce chlorides as it looks at adding desalination to its new treatment plant.

pat.aidem(at)dailynews.com

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Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Sep 17, 2007
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