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CITY COUNCIL AGENDA ITEM NO. 20
Meeting Date: June 24, 2003
Subject/Title: Council Review of Code Requirements and City Policy Concerning
• When City staff was
contacted to determine who could provide an approved water softener,
it is alleged that staff provided only one
referral. The facts are that for probably a six-month period of time
there was only one manufacturer that produced a certified single tank
residential water softener that could provide the flow rates required
by code. Today this is no longer the case; there are several manufacturers
that produce certified single tank residential water softeners. There
have always been many dual water softeners systems from several manufacturers
that could meet our code requirements.
water is very hard.
Conducting a thorough code review revealed several requirements that until this time were not considered. Those code requirements are as follows;
• The code requires
that the water softener not reduce the pressure in the house by more
than 15% P.S.I. In other words the water softener
cannot restrict the volume and pressure of water available to any given
plumbing fixture irregardless of weather other fixtures are flowing water
at the same time. This requirement insures that during periods of high
peak demand that there will be no reduction in water quality, volume
and pressure. In real terms what this means is that when the dishwasher
and the washing machine are using water, and you are in the shower, if
someone flushes the toilet there will be no appreciable reduction in
water temperature, pressure and quality. Thus the water supply system
works as designed.
The flow rate seems to be the issue that has created the most controversy. Until we began to require water softeners with flow rates consistent with system requirements, the only criteria it seemed homeowners considered was cost. As an example, it was not unusual to see a 6-gallon per minute water softener installed in a house that calculations indicated a need for 18 gallons per minute. When we first required calculated flow rates there was only one manufacture that produced a certified single tank water softener with the capacity to meet the higher flow rates. There are now several companies that produce compliant water softeners at the highest flow rates. Unfortunately high flow rates however mean higher costs. To purchase an appropriately sized compliant water softener, it could cost approximately $2,000 and up. To purchase an undersized water softener compliant or not, you could spend well less than $1,000. There are lower cost alternatives that comply; two undersized water softeners when installed properly can meet the higher flow rate requirements.
The Building Division issues many water softener permits each month for compliant systems. We know there are many systems installed each month without permits and probably are not compliant. We know because occasionally we catch them and the systems are usually not compliant. This trend has gotten better over time. We now get fewer complaints than we used to from compliant companies about companies that don’t get permits. The legitimate companies lose a percentage of their business to outlaw companies because they cannot compete in price.
What are the alternatives and what are the advantages and disadvantages? The alternatives include;
1. Continue to enforce the code as it was adopted by the State.
2. Require that water softeners be installed in all in homes at time
3. Continue to issue permits but ignore the flow requirements.
4. Amend the code to exempt water softeners from the requirements to
In conclusion, Staff believes that continuing to enforce the code as
it presently exists adds value to our housing stock and makes the most
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