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Culligan of Phoenix – Makes Every Drop of Water Count

Culligan of Phoenix


Environmental Impact, Sustainability, and Quality of Life

Water:  Essential to Life

The highest and best use of water is for human consumption.  Water is essential to life, and better water provides better quality of life.

Arizona’s water supply managers took visionary steps to build an intricate system of dams, canals, irrigation laterals, wells and underground storage systems to store and deliver a dependable water supply.  As our population has grown, water conservation and reuse have become important factors in meeting current and future demand forArizona’s most precious liquid asset.

For over 70 years, Culligan International Company and its worldwide dealer network have enhanced the quality of life and the environment through improving the quality of water.

Water Quality is Our Business

Water sustains life and is a daily requirement in our diets.  It also helps us run our factories, cool our offices, produce our energy, cook our food and keep ourselves and our physical environment clean.  It supports wildlife, irrigates our food supply, and is used for recreational purposes.  Culligan is meticulous in treating the water supply to the best quality for a given use.  Our ongoing interest is to protect our fresh water supplies as well as our social community.  Technology is helping us conserve water while creating the best quality for a given use.  We are committed to ecological responsibility; meeting present needs without compromising future generations.

The Phoenix Challenge

Limited water supplies, rising salinity levels, and increasing consumption require innovative technological answers and new approaches to water issues inArizona.  Salinity management must be multifaceted and include reducing the amount of salts entering sewer systems while adding to the water balance portfolio through desalination of brackish water (having a Total Dissolved Solids range of 1,000 to 25,000 parts per million), combined with disposal of concentrate in an economical and environmentally sound manner, along with desalination of effluent.  All of this is expensive, and costs must be taken into consideration.

Technology and Practices Impacting Consumers

As the population of Arizona grows all stakeholders are forced to rethink how we value, use and manage water, especially because economic development and the quality of life hinge on water availability.  Drinking water supplies, agriculture, golf course turf irrigation, energy generation and distribution, mining and industry all require large quantities of water.

Culligan is and will remain on the forefront of helping to solve the water dilemma through innovative treatment using advanced membrane separation technologies, more efficient traditional treatment methods, as well as treatment of nontraditional “challenged” water sources such as brackish groundwater.  Here’s how Culligan contributes today:

  • Smart-Sensor series water softeners adjust to changing needs, water hardness, and minimize salt and water consumption through patented technology.
  • Advanced Global Electronic Controllers engineered to operate and monitor water softeners and filters, and to communicate information to the user and to Culligan’s monitoring service via telemetry.
  • Portable exchange tanks delivered to homes and businesses fully regenerated and ready to soften water. Upon exhaustion, these tanks are returned to the Culligan plant where they are reprocessed and restored for reuse.  Central regeneration permits the efficient reclamation of brine and water for reuse and eventual disposal in an acceptable site such as an evaporation pond.  For the consumer there is no equipment or salt to buy, and no drain line is required.  For the wastewater treatment plant, there are no salts added to the sewer.
  • Culligan of Phoenix supports the Central Arizona Salinity Study recommendation of a two-pronged public outreach effort:  one component being a Salinity Awareness Campaign (SAC) to provide basic information on salinity and how it affects water resources; the second a Water Softener Efficiency Campaign (WSEC) which would show how users can use water softeners efficiently to decrease the amount of salinity entering the sewer system. Culligan routinely replaces old ion exchange water softeners using time clocks to trigger regeneration with new demand-based water softeners that are highly efficient in terms of salt and water use.  This addresses two separate issues that need to be considered when discussing the efficient use of salt in a water softener.  The first issue is how much capacity can be extracted from a pound of salt (i.e. the “salt efficiency” of a water softener).  The second issue the frequency of regeneration, since there is a direct relation between the amount of salt used and the number of times per week or month that a softener regenerates.  While salt efficiency can reduce the amount of salt used by about 30%, reducing the number of regenerations from once every three days to once every six days will increase efficiency by 50%.
  • Culligan’s exclusive brine reclaim system for commercial and industrial customers is a process of returning a portion of the reusable brine to the brine tank rather than sending it down the drain. This point source system typically provides 25 – 40% in salt savings, reduces water usage, and saves sewage costs by reducing discharge to drain.  Better for the environment, Culligan’s brine reclaim system can be retrofitted to many commercial water softening systems.
  • Reduction of energy consumption through use of softened water in water heaters.  Elimination of hard water provides energy savings because hard water scale acts as an insulator, wasting electricity or gas used to heat water.  GE estimates that a water softener creates a 20% savings in water heater efficiency.  This is a significant contribution to the environment and to our nation’s energy independence goal since energy suppliers are the largest user of water, and water suppliers are the largest user of energy.
  • Consumers treat hard water one way or another.  Culligan educates consumers on how to reduce use of harsh synthetic chemicals used to soften water chemically to clean and bathe.  Such chemicals find their way into waste streams and our environment with harmful effects on wildlife and water quality.  New studies show that chemicals in water bioaccumulate and create new levels of complexity, and a whole host of potential long-term impacts on ourselves and our environment.  With water softened by ion exchange, consumers can use environmentally-safe, all natural pure soap that is non-toxic and Earth-friendly.  When considering salinity control measures, stakeholders must assess trade-offs when restrictions on water softeners are proposed, as wastewater treatment plants will be challenged by chemical alternatives to water softened by ion exchange.  Since water conservation and water quality management are tied to chemical use reduction and safety, ion exchange water softeners may be the best practice currently available in spite of contributions to salts in wastewater systems.
  • Soft water adds extra years to appliances and fixtures, and washable fabrics last longer.  Soft water reduces the formation of rock-like hard water scale, which encrusts water heaters, hot water pipes, shower heads, and appliances that use water.
  • Use of ENERGY STAR certified water coolers that use approximately one-half the energy conventional water coolers use to supply hot and cold water.
  • Use of variable speed motors in plant operations that operate on demand and are energy-efficient.
  • Culligan sells and rents advanced drinking water systems customized to unique needs providing greener and lower-cost alternatives to bottled water.  Those systems help to eliminate some of the environmental burden of bottles/packaging and distribution/transportation.
  • Whole-house filtration systems that improve water quality without contributing salts to the waste stream.
  • Bottled water conserves water because it is 100% consumed – no running the water to get it “cold” or to flush the lead out of household plumbing before consumption.  Bottles are 100% recyclable and large bottles are sanitized and reused dozens of times before they are removed from the marketplace and recycled.
  • Former Arizona Governor Janet Napolitano asked Arizonabusiness and industry to harness solar power and expand its uses here. Softened water allows solar heating systems to operate more efficiently and last longer by minimizing scale buildup.
  • Culligan selectively offers potassium chloride as a sodium chloride substitute for regeneration of water softeners.  The drawback with potassium chloride is that at least 25% more may be necessary to obtain a regeneration equivalent to sodium chloride, and water supplies must meet waste limits on chlorides.  The advantage is potassium’s vital role in plant life.

Sustainable Practices behind the Scenes

Beyond the technology for end users of Culligan products and out of the public limelight, Culligan of Phoenix practices conservation and carbon footprint reduction in various ways:

  • Water reuse – rinse water that is reclaimed and used again in plant operations.
  • Brine reclamation – brine used to regenerate portable water softener exchange tanks is reclaimed and used again.
  • Chemical neutralization – chemicals used to regenerate portable deionized water exchange tanks are neutralized prior to disposal.
  • Culligan’s bottled water plant uses a state-of-the-art water bottle filler that electronically senses precisely when a bottle is perfectly filled; we discontinued use of the chemical chlorine in our bottle washer; we added auto dosing of detergent to our bottle washer, and we added an ozone monitor to maximize efficiency of detergent use and ozonation. We conserve energy by having converted our water heating system from electric to gas, and we reduced water use per bottle washed.
  • We use lightweight recyclable water bottles and closures to reduce use of fossil fuels used to manufacture new bottles and closures.  We converted from blue, green and red bottle caps to clear white caps to increase recycling as color sorting is not required to make a widely useable one-color recycled plastic.
  • We optimize truck routes, maintain vehicle engines and tire air pressure, use GPS technology, and have a “No Idle Policy” to save fuel, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and minimize vehicle wear-and-tear.  We use decentralized vehicle garaging to lower environmental impact through reduction of greenhouse gas emissions from employees commuting to work, and to reduce “windshield time” to get to our customers to provide service.  Culligan’s decentralized service model saves energy, reduces air pollution, and helps reduce traffic congestion.  Culligan uses cool colors on all vehicles to reflect sunlight away before it can be absorbed — solar radiation control reduces use of air conditioning and improves fuel efficiency.
  • Culligan uses ENERGY STAR rated equipment to lower energy consumption.
  • Our plant and office building’s primary daytime illumination is provided by skylights and windows, we have installed lighting controls (timers, infrared and motion sensors) that optimize the use of artificial light, and we use energy efficient, long-life fluorescent light bulbs.
  • Our Phoenix plant  has Earth-friendly swamp coolers in the production area, and Freon-free HVAC systems in the office areas, together with automatic thermostat set-back controls minimizing energy consumption.  We practice lowering room temperatures a few degrees during heating season and raising it a few degrees during cooling season.
  • Our computer terminals are turned off after hours.
  • We promote online bill paying and paperless statements to our customers.  By some estimates, if all households in theU.S.paid their bills online and received electronic statements instead of paper, we’d save 18.5 million trees every year.
  • Landscaping at our office/production facility is based on minimal water, fertilizer and pesticide use.
  • Culligan recycles plastic, paper/cardboard, metal, motor oil, and ink jet cartridges to significantly lower our environmental footprint.
  • Culligan employs maximum on-site testing to assure maximum safety and quality control.  We maintain strict compliance with rigorous state, federal and industry standards that ensure product capabilities and water quality.
  • We assess the environmental impact of our suppliers and inform them we will do business with companies that are committed to reducing their carbon footprint.  We insist on our janitorial service using High Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filters on vacuums, and earth-friendly biodegradable cleaning products.

Did You Know How Much Water It Takes To Produce…?

Water used for human consumption (drinking and cooking) accounts for approximately one-half of one percent of total water use.  In fact, 99.5% of water supplied by public water systems is used for purposes such as watering lawns/golf courses, flushing toilets/wastes, irrigation, fighting fires, controlling dust, washing cars, laundry, bathing and industrial/commercial uses.  It does not make sense, economic or otherwise, to remove all of the contaminants from the public water supply, and then expose it to miles of distribution piping, when so little of it is consumed.  A combination of methods for removing potentially harmful microorganisms or chemicals (such as pharmaceuticals) from water can be applied at the point of use (a single faucet), point of entry (all of the water as it enters a home or commercial establishment), or in bottling operations.

Critics of the water treatment and bottled water industries often mislead consumers by suggesting massive amounts of water are used in these processes.  The fact is, 0.7 – 0.9 gallons of spring water are bottled at a plant for every gallon of water used in production.  For perspective, here follows a list of virtual water footprints of common products (for more information

Water needs of agricultural products:

Product:                                               Gallons Per Pound:

Rice (paddy)                                        153

Wheat                                                    102

Corn                                                         59

Soybeans                                             224

Cotton seed                                        270

Barley                                                     84

Sugar cane                                          12

Beef                                                     1,583

Pork                                                     473

Chicken meat                                    287

Milk powder                                      388

Cheese                                                 418

Water needs to produce certain consumer products:

Product:                                               Virtual Water Content:

1 glass of beer (8.5 oz)                           19.9 gallons

1 glass of milk (6.7 fl oz)                       52.8 gallons

1 cup of coffee (4.7 fl oz)                         40 gallons

1 glass of wine (4.2 fl oz)                      31.7 gallons

1 glass of apple juice (6.7 fl oz)         50.2 gallons

1 glass of orange juice (6.7 fl oz)          45 gallons

1 egg (1.42 oz)                                          35.7 gallons

Bovine leather (1 pair of shoes)   2113.6 gallons

1 gallon of ethanol from corn            600 gallons

Golf course irrigation                 300,000 gallons/day

Water has to be managed by everyone.  Some have even described it as “the new oil.”

Our Growth is Shared With Dozens of Regional Businesses and the Community

Culligan of Phoenix supports local businesses that supply us with materials and services we need.  These suppliers grow with us which helps provide jobs and income.

We support the community we work and live in.  The jobs we create, and the jobs that our growth enables local suppliers to create, brings prosperity to the Valley of the Sun.  Our company, our business partners, and our employees pay income, sales and property taxes that support the communities we live and work in.

Culligan of Phoenix is an active sponsor and participant in local events that support causes that help our community.

Over 70 Years of Improving the Quality of Life and the Environment Through Improving the Quality of Water

Better quality of life through better water is not just a slogan – it’s what we do every day at Culligan.  Culligan holds 274 active patents in water treatment worldwide and Culligan products possess the industry’s most advanced state-of-the-art features due to our in-house research and development facility and accredited analytical lab. Our commitment to green fits every facet of today’s lifestyle at home and work, and makes the world a safer, cleaner and greener place to live.  We are receptive to playing a role in solving water issues and we are engaged in finding creative solutions to problems and in adopting better practices.  We welcome ideas for further improvement in conservation of water and energy, and in the reduction of waste.


Douglas Oberhamer

Culligan Water Conditioning of Phoenix

5410 S. 28th Street




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