eMERGE Guelph

Salty Softeners Salty Rivers

eMERGE was delighted to host Salty Softeners Salty Rivers webinar with our partners at the City of Guelph.

We explored efficient ways to reduce salt and water use from household softeners. This included simple plumbing changes, alternatives like water conditioning and  appliances with built in water softeners like dishwashers.

Our thanks go to Wayne Brabazon, from the Region of Waterloo for his dedicated time to shed the light on softeners mechanism and their correlation with chloride contamination in our waterways . His findings showed ~ ½ of wastewater effluent contain chloride concentrations which is almost ~15%,  and can be up to ¼ of chloride in local waterways.  And from the City of Guelph special thanks to Steve Yessie,  who discussed the Guelph perspective of household salt use from softeners and introduced smart water conditioning alternatives such as Nucleation Assisted Crystallization (NAC) or Template Assisted Crystallization (TAC) as promising alternative technologies that can replace softeners.  Check out this video and slides with the link below.

We know that road salt is bad for our beloved Speed River. But as we realized yesterday which was an eye opener that road salt use in Guelph is going down, softener salt is actually going up, there has to be a way to control this rising salt use in households due to softeners use to keep it to the desired level. Guelphites, shall we re-consider softeners? A burning question to watch for answers in the coming years as we fight climate change.

A recording of the webinar can be found on our YouTube Channel here.

The slide deck for this webinar is now available here 


About the Event

Water softeners are seen by many as an almost necessary piece of household equipment in Guelph. They provide several real and perceived benefits, but come with a few drawbacks.

The added salt is bad enough, but these softeners also mean we use more water to operate them. All of this impacts our environment including climate change.

What are we to do? … Lots.

This webinar shows us ways to cut our salt use by up to 60%, benefit our rivers, fight climate change and save money.

Wayne Brabazon, from the Region of Waterloo,  illustrated how softeners work and how they contribute to chloride (salt) pollution in our waterways. He demonstrated different types of water softeners and conditioners available to soften efficiently while saving water, salt and money.

Steve Yessie, City of Guelph Water Department, discussed the Guelph perspective of household softener use, the benefits and challenges of water softeners, as well as ways to reduce related water and salt use.


About the speakers

Wayne Brabazon| Water Efficiency Technologist, Region of Waterloo

Wayne has worked for the Region of Waterloo for 23 years in a range of water services positions. Currently he is the Region’s Water Efficiency Technologist and works extensively with commercial, institutional and industrial (CII) business-sector water users. This role involves convincing businesses to move on, and commit to, water saving projects. CII water efficiency projects are varied and each project is dealt with on a case-by-case basis. Wayne’s technical knowledge to support the water efficiency position is based on an educational background in the sciences, business and computer systems.

Steve Yessie| Water Conservation Program Coordinator, City of Guelph

Steve Yessie has worked in the sustainability field for the past 7 years. In 2018, he joined the Water Conservation and Efficiency team with the City of Guelph. In his role at the City Steve coordinates the Multi-Residential Water Audit and Water Sub-Meter Rebate programs. In addition to these programs he focuses much of his time toward community education. This finds Steve leading tours of the local Water Services facility and in front of classrooms at schools across the City discussing source protection, conservation, efficiency and best practices related to water.


The sponsors of this event:



Leave a Comment