By Kaitlyn R. Longstaff
The Harvey Salt Company, a family-owned business in Baltimore, MD, began its operations in 1933. It has been the Mid-Atlantic’s single source salt supplier in water conditioning, ice melt, food grade and agricultural salts, and bulk brine tanks for almost 90 years. Primarily servicing the Mid-Atlantic region, though also providing services to the New England and Lower Atlantic Regions, The Harvey Salt Company serves professional water treatment dealers but it also provides services to government, pharmaceutical, education, healthcare, industrial, data/collocation centers, commercial office buildings, hospitality, correctional facilities, and retail office buildings. Bryon K. Maze, Purchasing Manager, Sales and Marketing, said that the company is “honored our customers have trusted us as their thinking partner for more than 85 years.”
Maze has been with The Harvey Salt Company for six years but has worked in the salt industry since the 1990s. In an interview with Mike Urbans of Urbans Aqua, Maze mentions that The Harvey Salt Company’s “biggest vertical by far is water treatment” and that Harvey Salt is “all about supporting the professional water dealer and [have been] proud members of the Eastern Water Quality Association [EWQA] for many, many years.” Harvey Salt has been a champion of continuing education credits for water treatment professionals through the EWQA for over three decades.
Salt for Water Treatment
Did you know that there are over 14,000 uses for salt? It touches our lives in many different ways. When considering salt for water treatment, there are different options for which type of salt professional water treatment dealers can use. Some of the most common salts used in water treatment include solar salt, pellet salt, cube salt, and rock salt. Of the choices in salt, Maze notes that cube salt is a pure salt, with 99.8 % purity, which is much higher than what is seen in typical solar salts. For salt in water treatment, Maze advises that solar salt is good, pellet salt is better, cube salt is the best, and it is not recommended to use rock salt unless recommended by a professional.
Salt is an essential component for water softeners to work properly. Water softeners contain resin beads which, over time, are gradually saturated with calcium ions and become less efficient; however, they do not need to be replaced when this happens, they just need to be regenerated using salt water, i.e., brine. As this process takes place, a continuous cycle begins; water passes through the softener, dissolved minerals in untreated water are exchanged with sodium ions until the beads are full, and then another cleaning cycle begins. Salt is nontoxic and inexpensive, and allows the ion exchange to happen without impacting the taste of the treated water.
Bulk Liquid Brine vs. Above-Ground Brine Silos
When it comes to the brining process, Maze said that “you want to use dry salt. To save your money and the total cost of ownership, you want to buy your water on site, whether that’s through a well or through a municipality.” It is possible to use a pre-made brine that is manufactured off site and delivered via a tanker truck. However, there are limitations and consequences associated with this method. According to Maze, “you can only dissolve 2.647 pounds of salt in a gallon of water, and so 70 percent of the weight of sodium chloride brine in a liquid tanker tuck is water, only 30 percent by dry weight is salt.” With this method, you end up paying for more onsite deliveries, which also interrupts your operations. As a result, it makes more sense to buy dry salt, saving you money and causing fewer interruptions in your day-to-day operations.
While purchasing dry salt in bulk quantities is more cost effective, it also leads to the concern of overworking employees who may be exceeding the amount of weight they should be lifting. The Harvey Salt Company provides a solution to the labor-intensive method of handling dry salt by working with their installer network “to place a system outside…where you can use typical transportation methods…to blow salt into that unit.” Above-ground brine silos are large salt dissolvers that manufacture and store clear and saturated brine, and they accept all types of dry salt. Utilizing above-ground brine silos enables companies to save money. Harvey Salt offers the ECObrine Bulk Brine Tank for water treatment applications; it is a system that utilizes bulk salt, eliminates manual handling of salt bags, and is sized for your specific usage and workflow.
Keep in mind that bulk liquid brine is not recommended for water treatment as the cost of freight makes moving the brine difficult. Maze explains that “taking water and salt over the road is very costly and consumers receive little results” from this method. When using an onsite system, the salt is delivered directly to the brine maker, which allows for less money being spent on transportation costs.
All industries are constantly evolving, and the water conditioning industry is no different. When it comes to the use of salt in water treatment, there are other factors at play on what is on the horizon for the salt industry and the role it plays in the water treatment industry. As Maze points out, “the oceans are the principal source of our solar salt and cover about 70 percent of the Earth’s surface. And about 97 percent of all water on and in the Earth is saline.” Our saltwater ecosystems take carbon and turn it into oxygen, and it is important to remember that potable water is a scare resource and needs to be protected. The disposal of empty plastic salt bags has an impact on landfills, rivers, and streams. Maze mentions that more businesses are “moving away from using salt in plastic bags and are moving towards less handling and more bulk conveyance of salt, even for smaller users.” Moving forward it is important to use less plastic, as plastic bags are not readily degradable and endanger many facets of the ecosystem.
About the author
Kaitlyn R. Longstaff is associate editor at Water Conditioning & Purification International magazine. She studied English at Southern New Hampshire University and Publishing at The George Washington University. She can be reached at