The City of Ferndale is in the process of installing a nanofiltration (reverse osmosis) system that will act as a softening system to reduce water hardness. The system will be online by October 2014.
The City acquires its drinking water supply from groundwater wells. The groundwater supply underneath the community is considered “hard” by scientific standards, and can cause mineral buildup in appliances as well as residue (calcium carbonate) on surfaces, including dishes and vehicles.
In 2012 the community asked the City to seek ways to lessen the hardness level of the water, and in 2013 the City Council approved staff moving forward on the initial steps to study and potentially construct a large-scale water softening system, with the goal of reducing the hardness level down to what was experienced when the City purchased raw river (or “surface”) water from Whatcom County Public Utility District No. 1.
The City is studied a nanofiltration softening system, which removes the calcium and magnesium from the water and therefore reduces the hardness. The Washington State Department of Health approved the project moving forward, and in April 2014 the City Council approved a bid award with Tiger Construction to move forward on retrofitting the Water Treatment Plant with the nanofiltration equipment.
The system will also reduce the amount of chlorine added to disinfect the water and reduce the levels of undesirable disinfection byproducts and other trace contaminants in the water. A substantial amount of salt will be removed from the water by the system, which will improve water taste.
This site serves as a repository for information related to the water softening project.
Documents & Links
- Water Softening Project Update Flier – Mailed out September 2014
- Water Softening Project Flier (PDF)
- PowerPoint Presentation on Softening System Options (PDF) — March 4, 2013 City Council Workshop Presentation
- Water Softening Alternatives Analysis Full Report (PDF)
- Nanofiltration System Informational Videos:
- How the filter (“membrane”) in the nanofiltration system works (Note: this video by a private company is provided for educational purposes and is not an endorsement of the organization)
- How the pressure vessel works (where the membrane filter is placed in the system)
- How the multi-stage nanofiltration system works
- Pilot Study Council Presentation (PDF) — October 2, 2013 City Council Workshop Presentation
- Draft Softening System Project Report — Draft document sent to the state Department of Health for required review October 14, 2013
- Project Bid Award Documents — Approved by City Council April 21, 2014