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Within the next five years, Americans will have another home appliance that they consider standard equipment - much like a refrigerator, range, washer, dryer and microwave oven.

It is, says Kay Darrington, owner of K's Soft Water in Layton, a customized water treatment system. One, he says, that will first condition the water to make it soft for general household use and the further refine a portion of the water for drinking. One such model is the Waterplant.Darrington will showcase the Waterplant at the Home and Summer Living Show that opens Thursday in the Salt Palace.

The Waterplant is non-electric equipment where processing is controlled by the flow and usage of water. Owners have an uninterupted supply of conditioned and purified water eliminating worries about timers, special settings or power failures.

Darrington explains that rural homeowners are more aware of and concerned about their water and are interested in water that is more finely processed and filtered. He further explains that while municipal water plants are required to provide good quality, general purpose water that meets Environmental Protection Agency requirements for health and safety, homeowners who live on municipal systems also are concerned about what may enter their water on its way to their taps.

According to the International Bottled Water Association, U.S. consumption of bottled water in 1986 passed the one billion gallon mark, a 17 percent increase over the previous year. And it continues to go up.

The Waterplant is a system that first conditions water for household use, then further refines a portion of that water for drinking and cooking.

It begins with a patented valve, or control unit that guides the conditioning process. As water passes through one of the twin tanks to remove hardness minerals or iron, a water meter turbine measures use and signals when automatic regeneration should begin. As one tank regenerates, the other proves an uninterrupted supply of conditioned water to the home.

Only after water has been softened is a portion of it treated further for drinking through a reverse osmosis process. During the process, water is forced through a semi-permeable membrane that removes total dissolved solids, including pesticides, detergents, sodium lead and heavy metals.

When the drinking water storage tank is full, the process stops and the membrane is automatically rinsed to cleanse impurities from it. The drinking water process shuts off automatically after 500 gallons of water have been used, indicating that the metered automatic cartridge carbon filter need to be changed.

A full line of the water processing equipment for residential and commercial use at the show.