By Ronald Y. Pérez, WC&P Managing Editor

On Feb. 25, the Sanitation Districts of Los Angeles County (LACSD) board voted to ban the sale and installation of self-regenerating water softeners in the Santa Clarita area, according to the Feb. 28 issue of WQANewsFax. The ordinance went into effect on March 25, and 250,000 people will be affected. In addition, the State Water Resources Control Board had previously rejected a chloride total maximum daily load (TMDL) of 100 milligrams per liter (mg/L) as “unreasonable” when the source water itself runs 5-80 mg/L. The LACSD commissioned a study that found water softeners to be a significant contributor to salinity in the wastewater in Santa Clarita, which has minimal industrial discharge and only a “bedroom” community assortment of commercial discharges. In supporting SB 1006 in 1999, the WQA knew some water districts would be able to meet its criteria for banning softeners; however, the number of districts able to pass the first hurdle toward a ban is minmal compared to the 140 bans that were overturned by WQA’s 1997 lawsuit.

Texas WQA representatives met with the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) in Austin in November to discuss a rule that’s being considered to replace the old one (enacted Sept. 1, 2001) that banned water softeners and ROs from draining into septic systems. According to a TWQA newsletter, the process may take a year or more before a new rule is on the books. Meanwhile, the TWQA named its officers for 2002-2003. Among those elected were Susan Curie, president; Rocky Hoffman, president-elect; Don McGhee, secretary, and Kristin Stanford, treasurer. In other TWQA news, Homer Dean “Tex” Strait, Sr., died Feb. 7 from a lengthy illness. He was 83 and is survived by his wife of 59 years, Emma, and eight children. Strait was employed as a glass bender for the Russellville Neon Plant until 1956 when he bought a struggling Culligan business in Louisville, Ky. He sold the business in 1962 and went on the road working for Culligan Inc. as a field tech service engineer. In 1968, he bought a Culligan dealership in Beaumont. Strait was a founding member of the TWQA and served many years as a director as well as the association’s president in 1977. He served two terms on the national Culligan Dealer Advisory Council and served a year as chairman. He retired from the industry in 1983. Memorial contributions may be made to the Serra Club of Beaumont c/o Rev. Andy Moore, Lamar University Catholic Student Center, P.O. Box 10095, LUS, Beaumont, TX 77710.

Iowa officials are seeking to streamline the state’s product certification program, a WQANewsFax reported. The national WQA has reviewed an initial draft of changes and will be submitting its own proposals over the next month. Because California is also rewriting its certification regulations, the WQA sees this as an opportunity to work with state regulators to harmonize the two states’ rules as much as possible. Meanwhile, California’s revised draft regulations, based on discussions held between Department of Health Services officials and industry representatives in November, were due out by the end of January or February. The deadline depends on the availability of staff to continue working on the re-draft.

After much debate and ongoing discussions between the WQA and the Canadian WQA, an agreement has been reached. As of Jan. 1, 2003, devices making health claims and also distillers must be tested and certified to ANSI/NSF Standards 53 and 58. Quebec officials, however, recognize the need for a transition period and support easing the way for manufacturers and dealers who are affected. Quebec officials are also willing to limit the new rules to those products making health claims and to accept WQA laboratory testing and the Gold Seal for compliance. In late February, the Canadian WQA distributed a second survey—the first one was sent out on Jan. 2—to Quebec water treatment dealers in English and French. The surveys are being used to gauge the readiness of said dealers with regard to probable DWTU legislation. More information can be found at the Canadian WQA website. [A link to a .pdf file of related material can be found a the bottom of this article.]

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