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Steve Lunetta: Hard water dampens enthusiasm

Right About Now

Posted: May 7, 2012 1:55 a.m.
Updated: May 7, 2012 1:55 a.m.
 

A few months ago, we bought a house in Newhall over by The Master's College. As I've described in previous columns, the house was a disaster - foreclosed, bank-owned and generally neglected.

At first, we thought it would be a cinch to fix up. A few coats of paint, some landscaping and elbow-grease and we'd have it fixed up in no time. Little did we know.

One of the peculiar things that we noticed was that the city water from the street comes in to the side of the house furthest from the garage. Since the water heater is in the garage, water must travel through the house, get heated and then travel back through the house to the showers, which are located near the street water ingress to our home.

So, the water that was hot in the garage becomes cold by the time it reaches the showers. Getting hot water takes five minutes of wasteful running of the shower so we don't freeze to death.

The water that comes out is also extremely hard. You can almost see the calcium crystals coming out of the shower head. I really don't mind. But my bride does.

We bought a really nice dishwasher, but the dishes come out coated in a white film that looks worse than if we did not wash them at all. My wife, Trish, figured out a concoction of Lemi-shine, detergent and vinegar that gets them reasonably clean. I rather liked them the other way - then I could just skip washing the dishes and blame the water.

This led to the purchase of a water softener. I bought it from a kid on the corner who was also selling used Rolexes. I snuck it past the SCV softener police and got it into my house.

Of course, I felt horribly guilty about this since I know that water softeners are illegal in Santa Enchirito because of the fake chloride issue propagated by environmentalists and rich strawberry farmers in Ventura. Did I mention that we are on a septic system?

This small fact completely short-circuits enforcement against softener owners like me in the city. The assumption is that the salt remains in our septic tank and does not go into the leach field and beyond.

All of this ignores the fact that our city is a slave to the salt levels that come in our water from the California Aqueduct. Depending on the amount of water pumped into or out of the system, chloride levels can vary widely. However, Santa Clarita is held responsible for chloride levels, even though they are largely beyond our control.

For those not aware, softeners work by replacing the calcium ions in water with sodium ions. Softeners use common salt, or sodium chloride. It's the excess chloride after the softening process that goes into our waste water that has created this fake crisis.

There are other ways around the problem of hard water. Companies, such as Culligan, will give you an ion-exchange tank and replace it on a regular basis. The problem is: I've got a large family that goes through more water than Niagara Falls. The huge cost would break me.

There are other costs to hard water. Our master bedroom has very expensive faucets from some French company. The hard water, however, has crusted them up and ruined their inner parts. These once-gorgeous faucets are now junk.

I have not hooked up our new refrigerator to the water from fear it will ruin our new GE 500-cubic-foot freeze-o-lux stainless-steel fridge that my wife had to have. The lack of ice cubes has been heartbreaking. Warm Coke. But Dr. Pepper tastes rather good at room temperature.

Of course, the water company claims that the water is no harder than anywhere else in the city, since it comes from both wells and the aqueduct.

It never dawned on them that the ratio of well versus aqueduct water varies by each water company in the SCV.

When my wife pointed this out to one representative of Newhall Water, all she got in response was "Gee, I guess you are right."

These are the people running our water system and creating regulatory policy regarding water? I can see why we are in so much trouble with H2O in our valley and state.

We really need to send people to Sacramento who understand water policy and not be influenced by emotional pleas by environmentalists that are devoid of fact or reason.

Steve Lunetta is a resident of Santa Clarita and has no qualms about dirty dishes. He can be reached at slunetta63@yahoo.com.

 

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