Published: October 17, 2012

    South Carolina readies plan to curb saltwater contamination

    California Bans Salt Water Softeners

    South Carolina is having a salt problem with their water. This issue is due to rapid population growth in the area and an aquifer that is not able to sustain that level of water pumping. The result is salt water getting pulled into the well and causing a problem for drinking water.

    According to BlufftonToday.com:

    The excessive pumping from both states is forcing salt water from the Atlantic into the Upper Floridan Aquifer, threatening Beaufort and Jasper county water sources, including some 75 homes around Sawmill Creek Road and the Waddell Mariculture Center. Some predict all of Hilton Head’s wells will be out of commission in 25 years.

    Modeling shows both states will have to drastically cut how much water they’re extracting. Hilton Head and southern Beaufort County will have to do their part.

    In effect, Savannah may have to pump 10 million gallons per day instead of its current volume of 52 million gallons. And South Carolina would go from 7 million gallons a day to two.

    South Carolina officials at various levels of government have been frustrated by the lopsided dynamics of the problem.

    It would take 100 years for the salt water to affect Savannah, while South Carolina communities would feel the effects much sooner. At the same time, Moss said, at least 90 percent of the expense attached to any solution may fall to Georgia, since area communities in South Carolina have already been investing in their infrastructure.

    South Carolina is not alone in this issue. Arizona and California both have salt intrusion issues and they are solving it with the elimination of salt-based water softeners. California has already implemented bans while Arizona is still working out options to solve their problems. While the issue out west with softeners is the chloride added to the water, the water wasted during backwash could have a major impact in the process of helping South Carolina solve their water usage problems.

    Salt based softeners waste millions of gallons of water nationwide each year. If they cut those softener users by 50% and switched them to alternative water softener system which don’t waste water, they could close the 42 million gallon gap with much less impact on the government budget and consumer taxes.