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Chloride reduction grant opportunity brought before Water & Light Commission

Marshall and Worthington both indicated interest in a chloride reduction grant that was approved Dec. 22, 2021.

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Your water softener may be set to recharge more often than needed, wasting water and salt and adding salt pollution to the wastewater.
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WORTHINGTON — During its Tuesday meeting, the Worthington Public Utilities Water and Light Commission discussed a potential grant opportunity with the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency to aid in chloride reduction.

WPU General Manager Scott Hain was approached by Bolton & Menk, the firm that handles Worthington’s wastewater engineering, about a potential grant opportunity back in November. The MPCA was looking for two communities interested in chloride reduction grants. After the city of Marshall and Worthington both indicated their interest, a grant application was submitted to the MPCA and approved on Dec. 22 for a $250,000 grant.

While more specifics are still to come, the project would entail an inventory of softener salt usage within both the cities of Worthington and Marshall and develop a rebate program. Hain suggested the rebate program would likely be “heavily” used in the process of replacing older, time-based softening units with demand-based softening units. Hain also mentioned the potential use of a rebate program for the installation of blending valves, which would allow people to control the amounts of hard versus soft water.

“Essentially it’s a way to reduce the amount of fluoride being generated by home and commercial softeners,” Hain said.

Bolton & Menk will also develop educational materials on water softeners in both English and Spanish for the communities participating in the grant. Worthington, along with Marshall, will be expected to supply matching funds of $31,250 as part of the grant, for which they will receive the education materials, $100,000 in rebates per community and the salt usage inventory.

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“This will fit in very nicely with complying with our chloride minimization plan,” Hain said about how the grant project would support conditions of a recent permit.

As Bolton & Menk prepares final documentation for the project, a more formal commitment will be expected, which the Water and Light commission agreed to give.

Related Topics: MARSHALL
Emma McNamee joined The Globe team in October 2021 as a reporter covering Crime & Courts, Politics, and the City beats. Born and raised in Duluth, Minn., McNamee left her hometown to attend school in Chicago at Columbia College. She graduated in 2021 with a degree in Multimedia Journalism, with a concentration in News & Feature Writing and a minor in Creative Writing.
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