Golf courses fighting salt buildup Softner residue from city users, effluent blamed

Lake Havasu City might be hundreds of miles from the oceans, but residents only need to go to the golf courses to see salty water.

Golf course owners not only have to deal with the increasing effluent (treated wastewater) rates, but owners say trace amounts of salt deposits are killing the grass and making it more difficult to water their courses. After realizing there would be an increase in the amount of effluent water available, the City Council approved a rate hike last year that tripled the cost for effluent water. But the salty water issue is the result of a majority of Lake Havasu City residents using salt for water softeners, said Doyle Wilson, the city’s water resources manager.

“The brine they generate ends up in the sewer, mixes with everything else that ends up in the sewer and that causes the salinity (levels of salt) to go sky high,” Wilson said. “With the water that comes to your house, the total dissolved solids is about 550 milligrams per liter. The water we treat in the treatment plants for effluent is at around 1600 milligrams per liter.”

When the water is sent through the pipes, salt crystals occasionally build up in the pipes or even on the grass itself, Wilson explained, which creates a hard layer of salt on top of the grass.

“Eventually it makes an impermeable hard layer,” he said. “So what happens is you pour an unusually high amount of water, and it just sits there and doesn’t get to the roots so the grass can’t even use the water.”

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