The Town of Fountain Hills Arizona, a suburb of Phoenix, Sanitary District waters city parks and several of it's golf courses with recycled waste water.1
Even though the water is treated to a high degree for bacteria and viruses it is highly polluted with sodium. Long-term exposure to elevated sodium levels can burn, damage, or kill grass, shrubs, and trees.
Scientifically speaking, the University of Massachusetts Agricultural Extension describes the impact of salt on plants like this, “The dissolved sodium and chloride ions, in high concentrations, can displace other mineral nutrients in the soil. Plants then absorb the chlorine and sodium instead of needed plant nutrients such as potassium and phosphorus, leading to deficiencies. The chloride ions can be transported to the leaves where they interfere with photosynthesis and chlorophyll production. Chloride accumulation can reach toxic levels, causing leaf burn and die-back.”2
Once in the sewer system, the water is collected, treated, and
sent to local parks and golf courses to water the grass and landscaping.
The recycled water also refills Fountain Lake. In the end, every 40-pound
bag of salt that is used in water softeners in Town ends up applied to the
grass at local parks and golf courses.
The Town of Fountain Hills recommends switching to a salt free water softener system to help improve recycled water.
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1. Fountain Hills Arizona Sanitation District; October 21, 2021 Link to Fountain Hills news letter.
2. Water Quality for Crop Production; University of Massachusetts. Water Quality for Crop Production.