| Background Information|
We all know that too much salt in our diet can lead to high blood pressure. High salinity can also harm the environment. Excess salt in the environment can lower crop yields and harm fish and other aquatic species. It can also increase the cost of drinking water and wastewater treatment.
Woodland's potable water is pumped from a system of groundwater wells located throughout the City. It comes from rainwater that seeps down through the soil and is filtered naturally by sand and gravel as it passes through the soil to the aquifer. As water travels through the ground, it dissolves naturally occurring minerals, which remain in the water. The result is water with a high mineral content, commonly referred to as “hard water.”
Hard water, like Woodland’s, is safe to drink but it does require the use of more soap when bathing or doing laundry. It also leaves mineral deposits on plumbing fixtures, cars, and fences and can decrease the life expectancy of household appliances such as water heaters. For these reasons, many Woodland residents use water softeners in their homes and businesses. Unfortunately, the widespread use of water softeners has a significant drawback: water softeners use a process that increases the salt content of the water, so that by the time the softened water is used by residents and businesses and discharged as sewage, its salt levels are almost double those of the potable water. Additional salts are added to the wastewater stream from human wastes, garbage disposals, cleaning chemicals, soaps and detergents.
The City's discharge permit for its wastewater treatment plant was recently renewed by the Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board. Woodland’s treated wastewater is discharged to Tule Canal, a part of the Yolo Bypass. From Tule Canal, the water flows to the Sacramento River and eventually to the Delta. In order to minimize negative impacts of the increased salt levels on these important waterways, the permit requires the city to reduce the amount of salt it discharges to the environment.
As a long-term solution to this problem, the City of Woodland and the City of Davis have proposed a joint water supply project that will reduce the use of mineral-laden groundwater. The proposed project will provide a reliable water supply to meet existing and future needs, improve drinking water quality, and improve the quality of our wastewater effluent to meet anticipated regulatory standards including those for salinity. More information on the water supply project can be found here.