Sunday, April 29, 2007

This is your Polaris 280 Drive Shaft






X50 Magnification


This is your Polaris 280 Drive Shaft On Salt



X50 magnification




I pulled this out of one of my pools last week:




I’ve serviced this pool since it was new. It’s a pristine clean, 20,000 gallon, dark blue plaster pool with Oklahoma flagstone coping and rock hardscape - spa waterfall and diving rock. It has a Zodiac Clearwater LM2-24 salt system. It filled July of 2003. The Polaris is almost four years old. It runs 3 hours a day. I know because I set the program times and I preach to my customers that 3 hours a day is all that a Polaris needs to clean their pool. If you run it 4 hours a day, that’s a 33% increase in run time and you’re just going to wear it out that much faster. So, 3 hours a day is ideal.


I say three hours a day because a Certain Sales Rep told me so - back when he was wearing a Polaris hat - and in those days, that was all I needed to know. And the truth is, I still prefer, recommend and sell Polaris 280's. For two reasons; It’s the Best Cleaner on the Market, and that Certain Sales Rep was, and is, the Best Salesman on Planet Earth, and I’d still stop and listen to his spiel even today, no matter what he was selling. I even forgive him for selling me Jacuzzi Earthworks filters Back In the Day. And I forgive him because I truly believe he believed Jacuzzi when they told him that he was selling a better, more economical filter, with a flat plane grid pack less apt to bridge and a filter that was overall easier to service than the competition. It didn’t work out that way, but that’s a whole other blog.


And Back In the Day you could go to a guy like him and tell him what you were seeing - like a Polaris 280 drive shaft being eaten alive by salt. And The Word would go up the line and his company would talk to that salt company and who know’s what really got resolved. When it got to that level, a one-pole Pool Guy and even the Regional Sales Rep were pretty small potatoes and hardly in the loop in those discussions.


But at least you had a sense that we were all working toward that common goal of making our industry one small step better.


But the waters are so muddy now. It’s hard to know what to do. You see, the company that makes the salt system that ate up that drive shaft, Zodiac Pool Care, bought Polaris Pool Systems on January 18th, 2005. So, you don’t hear a lot about Polaris ranting and raving that these salt systems are eating up their cleaners any more. And maybe they never did. Maybe I was a fool to believe that Polaris looked at a situation as a problem that needed resolution, instead of an opportunity to Sell More Drive Shafts. I don’t know.


But I do know this. I pulled this Polaris 280 out of a pool 02/11/06.



It came out of a 30,000 gallon pebble finish pool with Oklahoma flagstone coping and decks and waterfall. This pool was brand new and fresh filled on 02/16/04. This pool also has a Zodiac Clearwater LM2-40 salt system. I had to replace the wheel bearings and the wheels when I replaced that drive shaft. At the time, this wasn’t happening to my other two year old Polaris cleaners, so I figured it was a combination of the bumpiness of the pebble finish, in conjunction with the salt, that caused that Stainless Steel Drive Shaft to last about as long as the plastic teeth on the wheel it was meshing with. And I think I was right. Because the drive shaft at the top of this page lasted twice as long on a smooth plaster surface.


Here’s what the bearings and wheel on this week's Polaris look like:



That rusty, dissolving drive shaft pretty much chattered those bearings apart. Left a nice stain on that black plastic, too.


Here’s one more picture.




This is a side by side comparison of the new and old drive shafts. You can see how the rust on the old one has stained the white plastic with a brown patina. It’s much like the staining that I’ve documented in the two previous posts. And always, it’s related to the deterioration of metal parts that weren’t supposed to deteriorate in that way. I mean, Stainless Steel sort of implies, well, Stainless. Get it? But as any sailor or marine electrician knows, there’s no such thing as a Stainless Steel that won’t eventually corrode in the presence of salt. There’s a neat web page that shows exactly why. Here’s the link:

http://infohost.nmt.edu/~burleigh/

And here’s an image I borrowed from that page that points out the importance of chloride (Cl-) in this process. You know, chloride. As in sodium chloride-the-stuff-you’re-pouring-in-your-salt-pool-like-there’s-no-tomorrow chloride. That chloride. The one whose level you’ve jacked by a factor of at least seven - for an older pool that hasn’t been drained and refilled in a long time - and as much 65 times normal - if your pool’s a fresh fill and your tap water is around the 60 ppm that the EPA would like to see it at.




This webpage is hosted by T. David Burleigh, PhD & PE, Physical Metallurgist, Corrosion Specialist, and Instructor, an
Associate Professor at the Materials and Metallurgical Engineering Department , New Mexico Tech, Socorro, NM 87801, and I really appreciate that he’s hosted it for those of us who don’t have time to move to New Mexico and attend his classes. Although I am going to look into buying one of his books at Amazon.

So, now we kinda see the mechanism for how the drive shaft went south on us and turned to rust. At least that’s one scenario. But I think there’s something else going on here as well. Our old friend Galvanic Corrosion. Here’s why:





These are pictures of the Locking Pin that holds the drive shaft turbine in place on the drive shaft. How much you want to bet that they're dissimilar metals? How much you want to bet that they’re just slightly different grades of Stainless Steel? And that slight difference set up a Galvanic Cell that traveled out to the tip of those shaft teeth and set them to corroding, and staining.

And why do I think it was Galvanic Corrosion? Because the new Polaris 280 drive shafts don’t have a Locking Pin to hold it onto the shaft. Next time you buy one, look for yourself. You’ll see. And if you have any salt pools that you take care of, believe me, you’ll be buying one soon.


So, what’s my point? This:


Polaris will sell more drive shafts as a result of the addition of salt to the pool water. And the consumer will pay for that. They’ll pay for the new part - about $30 - and perhaps the labor to put it in, because Polaris has changed their warranty, just like everybody else since salt came along, to one year on internal parts. It used to be 2 years, if you bought the booster pump and cleaner at the same time. But that’s about how long those drive shafts last in a pebble surface pool. And while that wouldn't have helped the four year old pool that I pulled the cleaner out of this week, they're still selling a drive sahft earlier than they would have anyway.


My other point is really a supposition, if Zodiac had never bought Polaris, would Polaris have eventually gone toe to toe with them and all the other salt system manufacturers over failed parts caused by salt water? We’ll never know. And we’ll never know if the change to that drive shaft is due to Galvanic Corrosion. Because you can bet your bottom dollar that even if it is - and the photographic evidence indicates that it is - and even if the engineers back at Polaris have a definitive report stating such, that report was long ago buried deep in the Zodiac Pool Care corporate archives, stamped "Proprietary Information. Do Not Release".


Zodiac bought Jandy this year. It was shortly after Jandy had purchased Chlormatic and renamed it the Aqua Pure.


Hayward bought Goldline Controls in September, 2004. When did they start offering cupro nickel heat exchangers on their H series heaters? To quote from their own website that you can go and check out Right Now; "Hayward H-Series heaters are all equipped with a Cupro Nickel Heat Exchanger for efficient heating and superior durability. Cupro Nickel provides improved durability and longevity against the damaging effects of erosion that can occur under high-flow conditions, corrosion from occasional pool chemical imbalances, and is ideal for salt-water based pool systems."


Here’s the link:


http://www.haywardnet.com/inground/products/heaters/H-Series.cfm


Right there, they’re equating "salt-water based pool systems" with "erosion that can occur under high flow conditions" - APSP calls that impingement corrosion and we’ll be talking more and more about that since I finally got a microscope and a way to start observing it - and "corrosion from occasional chemical imbalances". By implication then, the old copper heat exchangers won’t stand up to, "the damaging effects of erosion that can occur under high-flow conditions, corrosion from occasional pool chemical imbalances, and... salt-water based pool systems".


You can go one of two ways here. You can dismiss me as a Crackpot of the Highest Order, or you can Step Through The Looking Glass with me and look at this photo:



This is your Heater Heat Exchanger on Salt.


So, the next time you get a chance, ask your Polaris Rep whatever happened to that Locking Pin on the old 280 Drive Shaft? You see, if you know the answer to the question before you ask, then you can see for yourself that they’re BS’ing you. Then you can start applying that Unfortunate Fact of Life to everything else they tell you. Because the truth is usually "Proprietary Information: Do Not Release". And they have to tell you something or you’d stop buying their stuff.


You see, they’re not really lying to you. They’re protecting Company Sensitive Information.


And still, you may ask, what’s my point? This:


There’s nobody left out there that’s big enough to take on what used to be little old salt system manufacturers. They’re all huge multinationals now. They own the salt systems, or the salt systems own them, and instead of complaining that salt is ruining their products, they’re sending an internal document from one department to the other, making subtle equipment changes and passing the cost onto you and your customer.

If that’s okay with you, then So Be It. But then, stop telling me salt’s cheaper to use. Because everywhere I look, I see added cost after added cost, and nobody’s talking about it.

By the way, have you noticed that little holes are showing up on the old style Polairs wall port finger screens on salt pools? It looks like the mesh is just dissolving away. Gee. I wonder what's causing that?

And last but not least; I mentioned that both of these pools had Oklahoma flagstone, and they're both two of the dustiest pools on my route as that salt splash out continues to erode that softer Oklahoma flagstone.

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Sunday, April 22, 2007

Environmentally Unconscious

I learned something more about the Santa Clarita Valley Sanitation District ordinance banning salt water pools. And I learned it not from some left coast tree hugging environmental website - though I do tend to gravitate that way - but from an archive issue of Industrial Water World’s on line magazine. These are pretty much industrial wastewater management folks. Not folks you would readily connect with a vast left wing conspiracy to undermine the poor misunderstood Salt Peddlers out there. Here’s the link:

http://ww.pennnet.com/articles/article_display.cfm?Section=ARCHI&C=INDUS&ARTICLE_ID=241116&KEYWORDS=salt%20ban&p=41

You have to sign up to be able to get to it. It’s free. Sign up and then type "salt ban" in the search engine and the second article on the search return is:

"Santa Clarita Valley Sanitation District adopts ordinance banning saltwater pools
Officials continue to combat chloride discharge to protect Santa Clara River"


The article’s pretty much a rehashing of information I’ve already published in this blog about the salt ban. But it contained one piece of information I didn’t know:

"Swimming pools [in the Santa Clarita Valley] contribute about 125 pounds of salt per day, or about half of a percent of the chloride now entering the sewer system. If there is widespread conversion to saltwater pools, it could increase up to nine fold. If salt levels discharged into the river do not decrease, the Sanitation District may have to install new treatment equipment, possibly more than quadrupling Valley residents' annual sewer bills ..."

So, simple math would indicate that, if left unchecked, the Salt System business in the Santa Clarita Valley could increase up to a 4.5% level of contribution to the chloride discharge problem. Lucky for Santa Clarita pool builders, most pools aren’t plumbed to the sewer because building code doesn’t require it. So they just roll out the old backwash hose and let it spew... into the ground, eventually affecting the groundwater, or into a storm drain, which isn’t connected to the sewer system for waste treatment at all. Everybody keeps telling me I ought to keep my mouth shut about this issue, because it’s the only one I’ve really gotten any flack over. But I’m arguing with a guy who preaches and teaches ways around this ordinance so he and others can keep selling $1200 Salt Boxes. Amazing. As I’ve said before, Bizarro Pool World.

There’s some other news that I think will eventually affect the Salt Peddlers. It’s out of Scottsdale, Arizona. Here’s the link:

http://www.watertechonline.com/news.asp?mode=4&N_ID=67097

The gist of it is, golf courses in Scottsdale use 24 million gallons of water per day to irrigate their courses. But they use treated wastewater. You see, back in the early 1990's, the golf courses ponied up about $12 million to switch over to treated wastewater to get everybody off their backs about using potential drinking water. Trying to be good neighbors and good corporate citizens and all. But now, the grass on the gold courses is starting to decline because of the higher salt content of that wastewater.

And guess where that salt is coming from? Salt pools? Well, yes. But right now they’ve got their sights set on the water softener folks. Here’s why: "Art Nunez, water and wastewater treatment director at the water campus, said rising salt content of the irrigation water can be attributed to Scottsdale’s increased use of Colorado River water over the last two decades, and to the proliferation of water softeners in the city’s north... Increased use of water softeners also has contributed to the level of salt in wastewater, Nunez said... Each softener consumes about 40 pounds to 50 pounds of salt per month, which is flushed into the wastewater system, he said."


So, they’re pushing to speed up a $25 million water project, and add about $23 million to it to accomodate methods to reduce the salinity of wastewater discharge. And the reason that Scottsdale is probably going to say yes is because their golf courses generate "more that $6.2 million in tax revenue for Scottsdale in the peak January-to-April golf season".

How much tax revenue do water softeners and salt pools generate? Gee, I wonder who’s going to win?

The guy who is pushing all this is a fellow named Tim Bray. He’s a consultant with Southwest Community Resources. He’s also on the Board of Directors of the Central Arizona Water Conservation District.

Yeah, I know. Another liberal tree hugger out to strip the poor Salt Peddlers of their right to make oodles of money selling you environmentally unsound technology. But Mr. Bray hasn’t said anything about swimming pool salt systems yet. And to make sure he hasn’t overlooked them, I’m going to send him a letter pointing out the issues in Santa Clarita Valley.

So, you see, first it was Santa Clarita. Now, it’s going to be Scottsdale. Face it. It’s coming to a water district near you. Just wait and see. Salt System manufacturers are baling water on failed technology. And it’s not going to be pool damage that’s going to sink them. It’s going to be the environment. The environment and Rich Guys in Golf Carts. Wait till they hear that keeping salt water in their pool means teeing off on Astro Turf.

Speaking of pool damage... Here’s some nifty photos I took a while back. I was called out to work on a pump. It’s a five year old salt pool. Stamped concrete deck, pebble surface, and LOTS of Oklahoma flagstone for a waterfall that extends across the whole backside of the pool. The pool cost $100,000.

This first photo shows the inside of the difuser. The difuser shrouds the impeller, which is the deivce at the heart of your pump that moves all the water. That’s what’s left of a brass insert after five years of salt water. By the way, click on any of the photos to make them bigger.



Here’s what it looked like when it was new. Click to Enlarge



Here’s the old difuser and the new difuser side by side. I don’t know what the brown patina is. Click to Enlarge.



But it shows up on the shaft seal too. Click to Enlarge.



And the end result is stains on the pebble finish. Click to Enlarge.



These stains are just like the stains on the pool I posted about last week. Is it from the galvanic corrosion going on? The stray currents corrosion? Or maybe just salt contaminated with iron oxide. What? Never heard of contaminated salt? It’s only five bucks a bag and it’s not food grade. What did you expect?

Another thing you can see in the photo of the slotted return is the little pile of light brown dust down in the lower right hand corner. That dust is all over the pool. It’s there because the salt is dissolving all of this Oklahoma flagstone into the pool. Click to Enlarge.



That whole wall is a waterfall. The water comes rushing out from in between those rocks from one end to the other. It’s very impressive when it’s running. That’s where a lot of that $100,000 went. They’ve stopped running it much because of the issues of dissolving the flagstone into the pool.

Last but not least, we have these unexplained stains on the stamped concrete.



These little white spots disappear when the deck is wet, but show up as soon as it dries again. Nothing takes them off. They showed up when the pool was just under a year old. The owner made the builder come back out and strip the finish off the stamped concrete and reapply it. One year later the spots showed up again. Click to Enlarge.

It makes me wonder if stamped concrete is going to go the way of Cool Seal decks when it comes to salt damage.

Well, that’s all the news that fits. See you next week. And, in case you missed it, Click to Enlarge.

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Sunday, April 15, 2007

Unbridled Competition Meets Lack of Oversight

I think that sums up what is going on with salt systems. Think about it. Who would tell the salt system manufacturers to stop selling their products if those systems were found to be causing collateral damage to your pool in dollar amounts up to ten times the cost of the salt system? Who has Authority and Oversight in that situation?

Nobody. That’s who.

I do a lot of running off at the mouth, inventing cute little constructs to drive home the point that you ought not to be using salt, and along the way I try to throw a little home grown research into it. And maybe it’s doing some good. Maybe it’s not. I thought it might help though, if I started posting more pictures of the tragedies I run into out there when I go to these pools.

Like last week, I got a call from a guy who wanted pool service. So, I went to take a look and give him a bid. The pool was remodeled in 2002. New plaster, coping and tile. The equipment remained the same. This is what I saw.

1951 - The Walk - Note the swimout step in the pool. You dive off the diving board, swim over to the step, step up out of the pool and walk back over to the board for another dive. I had a similar series to this last winter in another post. But that pool was using limestone. This is Pennsylvania Blue, baby. It don’t get no harder than that. You can literally see where they get out of the pool, walk over to the board, dribbling salty water along the way.


The Corner at the Swimout - This is a closeup of the corner where they get out of the pool. You can see the discoloration and the spalling.


Diving Board Enclosure - I’m not sure how great an idea it was to build a stone box around a diving board, especially around a diving board whose stand is rusting out at warp speed. But it sure is pretty, and makes a nice place to stand around and wait your turn to dive off the board. And you can see exactly where they stand, can’t you?


Upper Left Corner of Enclosure - The damage is most prevalent in the corner and on the stone directly behind the board. The swimmers would naturally spend the most time standing there, dipping salty water.


These are closeups of those two stones. Notice how the damage, the spalling, is dramatically reduced halfway across the stone. That’s because that’s where the swimmers make their turn to walk onto the board, so the concentration of salty drippings would be so much less.



If you’re sitting there saying, “Well, I’m alright. My pool doesn’t have a diving board”, get a load of this. This is the skimmer at the other end of the pool. Five years of emptying the skimmer basket, dribbling the salty water onto the stone, caused it to spall.


This is a closeup of the same stone.


This is on the side of the pool closest to the house. I think that someone in the family likes to sit here. I see this a lot, especially in families with little ones, where the folks sit and tend to their toddlers in the shallow end of the pool and their wet bathing suit super saturates the stone with salt.


This is where you would logically bend down to grab the Polaris hose and haul it out of the pool to get the bag off for cleaning. You’d only do it about once a week, though. As you see, the stone is delaminating right above the Polaris, and the grout is dissolved; another collateral damage issue of owning a salt water pool.


Strange Stains. I’ve seen stains like this on salt pools with dark plaster and also on salt pools with pebble finishes. I don’t know where it comes from. But I do know that this pool owner just replaced his heater because the heat exchanger sprang about a dozen leaks. It would be easy to blame it on bad water chemistry.


But this time, I got my hands on the thermostat from that heater. This is what I saw:


It’s not a crystal clear photo, I know. But the fact that those two dissimilar metals that make up that thermostat are galvanically corroding is obvious. The color of the stains is the same as the color of the corrosion on the thermostat. Gee, I wonder if they’re related?

This is the salt system that’s been on this pool since before the remodel. Note how the top of the unit has caved in, exposing the backplate. All of the electronics and the power supply are attached to that backplate. So much for a raintight enclosure. This system was bought by Jandy and is now called the Jandy AquaPure. It’s now in a gray box. But it still does the same thing.



Here’s a closeup of that failed enclosure top. It’s easier to see the gap here and how the way that it droops down will actually funnel the rain right down into that backplate. Also, read the “INFORMATION The Chlormatic must read 00 for 24 hours after the salt has been added and circulated in the pool! FAILURE TO COMPLY WILL VOID THE WARRANTY ON THE UNIT”


I talked to a friend of mine who does warranty work on these systems and he told me you stand a very good chance of frying the Printed Circuit Board (PCB) that reads the salt level if you dump a bunch of salt in your pool without turning the system down to 0% output. It’s something about the salt melting and settling to the bottom of the pool, where the main drain sucks up the super concentrated salty water and when it gets to the in line sensor, the signal that it sends to the PCB so overloads it that it burns it up.

Which, if you think about it, is a unique approach to engineering. Instead of re-engineering the PCB to sense a high salt condition and shutting down to protect it’s own circuits, just put an INFORMATION label on top of the unit and make it the homeowner’s fault. Don't call it a CAUTION or a WARNING. Just INFORMATION. It sounds so much friendlier, and so much less of a Sales Killer and so much less likely to raise questions. Besides, you save all that money on re-engineering costs and sell a lot more PCB’s to boot.

So, as you can see, I’m not just making this stuff up. I have pictures, too. And I have the addresses of the pools where all the pictures are taken. So, if push comes to shove, and I had to prove that it’s the super saturation of the Pennsylvania Blue with sodium chloride that causes it to spall and delaminate, I’ll talk that pool owner out of a chunk of his coping and we can have it analyzed. If just one of the Salt System manufacturers would pony up a few thousand dollars, we could do a microscopic analysis and prove once and for all whether it really is salt that’s destroying every type of coping out there.

What say you, Salt Guys? How about while you Group of Seven are doing your Independent Research you take a look at some of these heater parts and evaluate them for galvanic, stray current and impingement corrosion? I have the heat exchanger in my garage. Just drop me a line. Let me know....

Just like I thought. Talking to myself.

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Sunday, April 01, 2007

It’s A Good News, Bad News Kinda Thing




I read some really good news this week. The State of California, in their drive to lead the way on environmental issues, has passed into law a recommendation to the state’s Water Quality Control Boards to ban all saline discharge to groundwater or waste water.

What was that sound I just heard? A collective gasp from the Salt Is Great Amen Choir?

Yes, read all about it, right here:

http://www.watertechonline.com/news.asp?mode=4&N_ID=66916

The gist is that the State of California has enacted a recommendation that encourages their nine California Water Quality Control Boards to ban all discharges of saline to groundwater or waste water.

I know. I just said that in the first paragraph. But I thought it beared repeating. Because if you stop all discharge of salty water to groundwater, then you guys out there in California can’t blow your salty backwash down into the canyons any more. That would be saline discharge into groundwater. And if you’re backwash is hooked to the sewer, you can’t backwash it there, either. That would be saline discharge to waste water. In fact, you won’t be able to dump a salt pool anywhere. Ever. Because there’s no provision for it’s disposal. There’s now a rule, slated to go into effect next year, that says you can’t introduce saline discharge into groundwater or waste water.

I know. I keep saying it. NO SALINE DISCHARGE INTO GROUNDWATER OR WASTE WATER. I’m even giggling as I write it. It is so cool.

With the stroke of a single pen, with a one-sentence recommendation, the State of California Water Quality Control Board, part of CAL/EPA, has banned the use of salt water based chlorine generators. Unless, of course, you have a cartridge filter and you plan on drinking your pool the next time it needs replastering.

This, by the way is a different group than the Los Angeles County Sanitation District who enacted the Santa Clarita salt water softener ban and salt water swimming pool ban.

http://www.lacsd.org/info/industrial_waste/chloride_in_santa_clarita/saltwaterpool.asp

So, you see, that’s the second government agency in the State of California tasked with monitoring the state of the environment that is saying that salt in our waste water is a BAD THING.

On the one hand, you have government agencies who monitor water quality and see a growing problem with higher and higher levels of chloride in our rivers, lakes and reservoirs, and they’re recommending banning saline discharge to reverse that trend.

On the other hand, you have companies whose bottom line will be impacted by the prohibition on saline discharge, and they’re telling us to trust them, that they know best, and that we shouldn’t worry about saline discharge, that it’ll be okay. Gosh, just look at Australia. It is such a shining example of a country that’s been using salt in their pools and water softeners for over twenty years with no ill effects.

Is that true? I’ve always wondered if what we read in our trade publications about the situation in Australia is as rosy as they make it out to be. Or is it that in those interviews they’re only asking the Salt Peddlers in Australia how things are going. But that’s the great thing about Google and the internet. It gives you an opportunity to do an end-run on the sound bite folks and find out what the pointy-head guv guys are saying. Here’s what I found when I Googled “salinity of drinking water in Australia”.

http://www.nrm.gov.au/publications/salinity/index.html

“Australia has critical salinity and water quality problems which are receiving urgent attention.”


http://www.abc.net.au/water/stories/s1572428.htm

“Across Australia, 80 wetlands are already suffering the effects of salinity. The number is predicted to rise to 130 by the year 2050. The build-up of salts puts many species of plants and animals at risk, and will eventually reduce biodiversity in the affected regions. Drinking water supplies, particularly in South Australia and New South Wales, are also under threat from salinity. For example, Adelaide's drinking water is predicted to exceed World Health Organisation guidelines for salinity on two days out of five by the year 2020 if nothing is done to control salinity in the River Murray.”


http://www.napswq.gov.au/publications/salinity.html

“More than $130 million of agricultural production is lost annually from salinity. More than $6 million is spent every year on building maintenance related to salinity in South Australia. Salinity causes $9 million damage annually to roads and highways in south-west New South Wales. The area of salt affected land in Western Australia is increasing at a rate of one football field per hour.”


http://www.waterquality.crc.org.au/programs/program3d/pg2006/sustainable_epidemiology.doc
“Impacts from salinisation have been identified as one of Australia's most serious environmental issues. Accumulation of dissolved salts within the soil profile may lead to salination of adjacent freshwater ecosystems.”


These were all on the first page of results. I didn’t go digging ten pages back to find them. These are the ones that jump right out at you off the first page. It literally took me five minutes to find those references. Take note, too, that they’re all from government agencies, from the folks tasked with protecting, or at least salvaging, the environment.

Now, in all fairness, Australia didn’t get where they are today by people dumping their salt pools and discharging their salt water softeners. They got there through a mechanism of over-irrigation, which percolates a layer of salt already deep in the soil to the surface and raises the levels of the even deeper aquifers so that the salt in that higher strata contaminates the whole aquifer. But if that’s the situation, isn’t dumping a salt pool or discharging a salt water softener kinda like throwing gas on a fire?

Anyway, that’s the Good News. Help is on the way and if the recommendation is acted upon by the California Regional Water Quality Boards, then salt systems in California could be a thing of the past.

The Bad News is that this recommendation is about a year away from being enacted. That’s more than enough time for the Special Interests to get their lobbyists in there, pressing the flesh and doling out the dollars to see that single sentence amended out of existence. And it’s not just the salt/chlorine gobs who will be working to defeat it. It’s the whole Water Quality Industry (read salt based water softener peddlers) who will be gunning for it.

It’s just going to depend on the strength and influence of the pointy-head guv guys who did the hard work of monitoring the situation all these years to come to the conclusion that this was the answer. They’re the ones who got that sentence added in the first place. I assume it’s them, anyway. I’m not naive, though. I realize it could also be the Something Besides Salt To Soften Your Water folks. But what’s that old saying?

The Enemy of My Enemy is My Friend.

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