Worthington Public Utilities Water Softener Rebate Program


Water Softener Optimization & Rebate Program

Water Softener Optimization & Rebate Program


Welcome to Worthington Public Utilities’ Water Softener Optimization & Rebate Program website. We are happy that you are interested in learning more about and possibly participating in the program to reduce your water softener salt use and chloride loading to Okabena Creek.


As of November 2023, Worthington Public Utilities has successfully replaced or upgraded 92 high-salt-use water softeners.  Program participants are expected to see an average 79% reduction in their monthly salt use.  Before replacements and upgrades, participants were using an average of 22 50-pound bags of salt per year.  With the softener replacements and upgrades, their salt use is projected to be lowered to an average of 4 ½ bags of salt per year with an average savings of $123 on yearly salt purchases.  That’s a lot less salt to haul down to the basement. These residents and small businesses also received a $150 to $988 rebate to replace or upgrade their softeners.  Over 132,000 fewer pounds of salt is being discharged to Okabena Creek each year, protecting aquatic life!


Worthington Municipal Wastewater Treatment Facility (WWTF) is required by the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) to reduce the discharge of chlorides to Okabena Creek. A large portion of the chloride comes from water softener salt that is sent into the sanitary sewer collection system that flows to the WWTF and is discharged to Okabena Creek. Chlorides cannot be removed through conventional mechanical treatment at the WWTF. The connection to the Lewis and Clark Regional Water System allowed Worthington Public Utilities (WPU) to blend community water and provide a softer water to our customers.  Since mid-2019, WPU has been delivering water at 17 grains hardness compared to 24 grains hardness previously. This alone will not meet MPCA State Standards. Your water softener must be adjusted to the new hardness. It can also be optimized for salt efficiency. This will result in less salt usage and cost savings for you and lower the discharge of chlorides to the sanitary sewer system.

Free Optimization (Setting Adjustment) Program

In addition to adjusting hardness, water softener salt use can be reduced by adjusting the salt dose and some additional settings. It can be difficult to figure out how to do these adjustments yourself, so we are making it easy. With funding from the Environmental and Natural Resources Trust Fund, WPU is offering a free setting adjustment (known as optimization) for residents and commercial facilities. Water softener optimization will result in less salt use and cost savings for you, and lower discharge of chlorides to the sanitary sewer system. Schedule an appointment with an approved contractor on the list posted below.

Water softener Rebate Program

WPU has $100,000 to use to provide free optimizations and water softener replacement and modification rebates. Up to $700 rebates are available to residents for upgrading time clock water softeners, rental exchange tanks or softeners with a salt efficiency less than 3350 grains/lb salt to more efficient water softeners or salt-free water conditioners. Commercial facilities are eligible for up to $4000 rebates. Check the eligibility requirements on the rebate application form to see if you can apply. Replacement/modification work must be performed by a WPU approved contractor on the list below.

Here is what you can find on this site

    1. List of approved contractors that you can contact to have your water softener optimized for low salt use (adjust settings such as hardness and salt dose). The contractor can also determine if your softener is eligible for a replacement rebate.
    2. Rebate application for water softener replacement- download form with instructions or complete online application
    3. FAQs – questions you may have about water softening and the optimization & rebate program
    4. Rebate eligible water softeners (these are eligible for replacement)
    5. Information about non-salt alternatives to water softeners
    6. Additional resources on water softeners and reducing salt
    7. Why participate? 
Funding Available

Funding for this project was provided by the Minnesota Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund as recommended by the Legislative-Citizen Commission on Minnesota Resources (LCCMR) and administered by the MPCA.