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ION EXCHANGE RESINS

troubleshooting guide

ask yourself:

what has changed ?

table of contents

Chapter 1 Industrial Softeners . . . . . . . . . . . . .1 Chapter 2 Primary Cation Exchanger . . . . . . . .5

Chapter 3 Primary Anion Exchanger . . . . . . . .10 Chapter 4 Mixed Bed Demineralizer . . . . . . . .15

introduction
When the performance of an ion exchange resin bed has changed, it is a clear indication that at least one factor in the entire process has changed. Therefore, a very effective method of troubleshooting an ion exchange resin bed is to view the demineralizer station or plant as being directly affected by several factors. To summarize, we can look at four areas: 1. What goes into the bed? This includes the feed stream, especially the current TDS, the backwash and rinse water, and the chemicals used for regeneration. 2. What is going on as far as what comes out of the bed? This includes instrumentation that measures pressure drops and both quality and quantity of effluent. 3. The mechanical aspects of the plant, which include pumps, valves, the vessel internals and fittings. 4. The ion exchange resin - its condition, age and the quantity in the vessel.

This guide has been assembled as a checklist of areas that can affect the performance of the ion exchange process.

chapter 1 industrial softeners

Possible Cause
Reduced Throughput
Increased ionic loading

Solution
- Check influent water hardness - Increase regenerant - Add capacity

Channeling, poor distribution Suspended solids loading Broken or clogged distributors Low flow Premature break

- Check backwash; extend if needed - Repair - Maintain minimum flow - Check previous run throughput - If normal regenerant does not restore capacity, double regenerate - Adjust end point - Check metering pumps, eductors, piping, etc. - Regenerant dosage - Do brine elution study (brine curve) - Check dilution flows, time settings - Apply correct amount at correct concentrations

Regenerant concentration and quantity

Resin loss Excessive backwash Underdrain failure De-crosslinked resin Flotation by dissolved gas Normal bead attrition

Check temperature and flowrate Check and repair (resin trap?) See oxidation Effluent flow control Top off

Possible Cause
Reduced Throughput
Resin age

Solution
- Up to 5% / yr loss in capacity considered normal - Analyze resin to determine remaining useful life

Resin oxidation Presence of oxidants (chlorine) and oxygen in presence of catalysts (iron) causes de-crosslinking which reduces wet volume capacity (eventually high P) Resin fouling Iron, manganese, aluminum fouling and precipitates

- Chemical pretreatment of feedwater/activated carbon filter - Replace resin when moisture content exceeds 65%

- Check water supply (analysis) - Check backwash - Check regenerant chemicals for contaminants (analysis) - Clean resin by air-scour and backwash and chemically if required - Clean resin with appropriate cleaner (compatible with resin) - Check end-of-rinse set points - Readjust rinse time to suit - Check for fouling (see above)

Microbiological fouling

Excessive rinsing

Poor Effluent Quality


Note: All of the items listed above for Reduced Throughput should also be checked regarding poor effluent quality. Leaky valve - Check bed sample vs. discharge pipe sample (before and after valving); special caution on backwash inlet valve - Check limit stops on valve operators - Check air pressure on pneumatic valves - Check sealing gaskets on multiports - Check for physical damage due to water hammer

Possible Cause
Poor Effluent Quality
Flow rates too high Insufficient reaction time (kinetics) Flow rates too low Poor distribution, channeling

Solution

- Reduce flow

- Place one or more units in standby to increase flowrate - Recycle treated water to inlet - See Resin fouling above under Reduced Throughput - Check resin level and add resin as needed

Resin fouling

For counter-current regeneration: loss of inert (inactive) resin allows resin migration which, in turn, causes high leakage In counter-current regeneration, it is important to use soft water for regenerant dilution and displacement rinse

- Check resin level and add resin as needed

High Pressure Drop


Bed compaction - Check flow and temperature for sufficient backwash - Air or mechanical scour prior to backwash - Remove with backwash - Analyze resin and replace if necessary - P increases with higher water viscosity at lower temperature - P increases with flow (do not exceed specified P) - Check and adjust all valves

Resin fines Cation resin de-crosslink

Lower water temperature

Increased flow rate

Valve partially closed Internal distributor blockage With resin, iron, debris

- Inspect strainers and clean - Repair / clean distributors

Possible Cause
High Pressure Drop
Flow rates too high Insufficient reaction time (kinetics) Plugged underdrain Resin or subfill in collectors, outlet strainers Increased suspended solids loading in influent Resin fouling

Solution

- Reduce flow

- Inspect internals

- Mid-cycle backwash

- See Resin fouling above under Reduced Throughput

Low Pressure Drop


Note: Low pressure drop is not necessarily a problem in itself; however, it may be a symptom of a problem. Leaky valve Reduced flow Increased temperature - Check bed sample vs. discharge - P decreases with flow - Lower viscositycheck backwash rate at higher temperature

Resin loss, reduced bed depth Underdrain failure


Resin attrition Resin loss

- Check for loss to sewer during backwash and rinses - Inspect and repair - See Resin loss above under Reduced Throughput

chapter 2 primary cation exchanger

Possible Cause
Reduced Throughput
Increased ionic loading

Solution
- Check influent water analysis - Increase regenerant - Add capacity

Channeling, poor distribution Suspended solids loading Broken or clogged distributors Low flow Premature break

- Check backwash; extend if needed - Repair - Maintain minimum flow - Check previous run throughput - If normal regeneration does not restore capacity, double regenerate - Adjust end point - Check metering pumps, eductors, piping, etc. - Regenerant dosage - Check dilution flows, time settings - Apply correct amount at correct concentrations

Regenerant concentration and quantity

Resin loss Excessive backwash Underdrain failure De-crosslinked resin Flotation by dissolved gas Normal bead attrition

Check temperature and flowrate Check and repair (resin trap?) Effluent flow control Top off

Resin age

- Up to 5% / yr loss in capacity considered normal - Analyze resin to determine remaining useful life

Possible Cause
Reduced Throughput
Resin oxidation Presence of oxidants (chlorine) and oxygen in presence of iron (catalyst) causes de-crosslinking which reduces wet volume capacity (eventually high P) Resin fouling Calcium sulfate, iron, manganese, aluminum fouling and precipitates

Solution

- Chemical pretreatment of feedwater/activated carbon filter - Replace resin when moisture content exceeds 65%

- Check water supply - Check backwash - Check regenerant chemicals for contaminants - Clean resin by air-scour and backwash and chemically if required - Clean resin with appropriate cleaner (compatible with resin) - Check end-of-rinse set points - Readjust rinse time to suit - Check for fouling (see above)

Microbiological fouling

Excessive rinsing

Poor Effluent Quality


Note: All of the items listed above for Reduced Throughput should also be checked regarding poor effluent quality. Calcium sulfate precipitation Calcium in treated water should be zero

- Check resin - If severely fouled, replace resin - If moderately fouled, clean resin with an HCl soak (caution check materials of construction for compatibility with HCl) - Check influent water calcium concentration (% of total cations) - Check and adjust acid concentration (stepwise regeneration) and flowrate - Check pretreatment

Presence of calcium phosphate or other complexes in feedwater

Possible Cause
Poor Effluent Quality

Solution

Notes: For weak acid cation exchangers regenerated with H2SO4, acid strength should not exceed 0.8 % with a flowrate of 2 gpm/ft3. In countercurrent regeneration, it is important to use decationized or demineralized water for regenerant dilution and displacement rinse. Once sulfuric acid injection is started, never stop flow. If acid injection must be interrupted, stop concentrated acid flow but let dilution flow run until all acid is displaced. Excess sodium in treated water ran past breakpoint - Check and adjust set points - Check regenerant dosage and quality - Investigate conversion to upflow or hydrochloric acid regeneration - Check bed sample vs discharge pipe sample (before and after valving); special caution on backwash inlet valve - Check limit stops on valve operators - Check air pressure on pneumatic valves - Check sealing gaskets on multiports - Check for physical damage due to water hammer

Leaky valve

Flow rates too high Insufficient reaction time (kinetics) Flow rates too low Poor distribution channeling

- Reduce flow

- Place one or more units in standby to increase flowrate - Recycle treated water to inlet - See Resin fouling above under Reduced Throughput

Resin fouling

Possible Cause
Poor Effluent Quality
For counter-current regeneration, a loss of inert (inactive) resin allows resin migration which, in turn, causes high leakage

Solution

- Check resin level at exhaustion and add resin as needed

High Pressure Drop


Bed compaction - Check flow and temperature for sufficient backwash - Air or mechanical scour prior to backwash - Remove with backwash - Analyze resin and replace if necessary - P increases with higher viscosity at lower temperature - P increases with flow (do not exceed specified P) - Check and adjust all valves

Resin fines Cation resin de-crosslink

Lower water temperature

Increased flow rate

Valve partially closed Internal distributor blockage With resin, iron, debris

- Inspect strainers and clean - Repair / clean distributors

Plugged underdrain Resin or subfill in collectors or outlet strainers Increased suspended solids loading

- Inspect internals

- Mid-cycle backwash - Check filtration ahead of demineralizer - See Resin fouling above

Resin fouling

Possible Cause
Low Pressure Drop

Solution

NOTE: Low pressure drop is not necessarily a problem in itself; however, it may be a symptom of a problem. Reduced flow - P decreases with flow (normal)

Increased temperature

- Lower viscosity - Check backwash rate at higher temperature

Resin loss, reduced bed depth Underdrain failure


Resin attrition Resin loss

- Check for loss to sewer during backwash and rinses - Inspect and repair - See Resin loss above under Reduced Throughput

chapter 3 primary anion exchanger

Possible Cause
Reduced Throughput
Increased ionic loading

Solution
- Check influent water analysis - Increase regenerant - Add capacity

Channeling, poor distribution Suspended solids loading Broken or clogged distributors Low flow Premature break

- Check backwash, extend if needed - Repair - Maintain minimum flow - Check previous run throughput - If normal regeneration does not restore capacity, double regenerate - Adjust end point - Check metering pumps, eductors, piping, etc. - Regenerant dosage - Check dilution flows, time settings - Apply correct amount at correct concentrations - Check CO2 at the outlet of the clearwell: should be less than 5 ppm. If not: - Check air filter on blower; replace if dirty - Inspect packing (rings) in column. If dirty or slimed, replace packing.

Regenerant concentration and quantity

If degasser (decarbonator) is used

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Possible Cause
Reduced Throughput
Resin loss Excessive backwash Underdrain failure De-crosslinked resin Flotation by dissolved gas Normal bead attrition Resin age -

Solution

Check temperature and flowrate Check and repair (resin trap?) See oxidation Effluent flow control Topoff

- Up to 5% / yr loss in capacity considered normal - Analyze resin to determine remaining useful life

Resin degradation Resin exposed to excessive temperature

- Do not exceed 120F anytime for type I styrenic strong base anion resins - Do not exceed 95F anytime for type II styrenic or type I acrylic strong base anion resins

Excessive rinsing Organic fouling (organics tend to hold on to sodium as they contain weak sites which retain sodium)

- Partial restoration of resin with a brine squeeze - Analyze resin for strong base capacity and replace resin if necessary - Incorporate routine brine squeezes into operation of plant - In the case of weak base anions, consider regeneration with ammonia - Recycle rinse water to reduce water usage - Adjust rinse end-point - Check caustic concentration (higher concentration requires more rinse water) - For high TOC waters, consider the installation of an organic trap - Analyze resin - Check for presence of cation resin in anion bed - Identify cause of presence of cation resin (leaky or broken strainer or lateral) and repair

Presence of cation resin in anion bed

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Possible Cause
Reduced Throughput
Resin fouling Silica precipitation

Solution

- Lower caustic strength (2.5% suggested) - Thoroughfare regeneration (strong base anion/weak base anion): dump first portion of strong base eluate before feeding residual caustic to WBA resin - Check air filter on blower; replace if dirty, damaged or missing

If degasser (decarbonator) is used

Poor Effluent Quality


Note: All of the items listed above for Reduced Throughput should also be checked regarding poor effluent quality. High conductivity or pH in treated water Ran past cation breakpoint

- Check cation effluent - If cation effluent is within acceptable range, check anion resin

Chemical precipitation Hardness in regenerant dilution and / or rinse waters

- Check for calcium and magnesium in cation and anion effluent - Insure that dilution and rinse waters are hardness-free - Check cation performance - Check for hardness in all waters used for regeneration to eliminate precipitates - Check regenerant specs for chloride and silica content (mercury cell or rayon grades of caustic are acceptable) - Check for leaking regenerant (caustic) valve

Hardness in treated water

Chloride or silica in treated water

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Possible Cause
Poor Effluent Quality
Leaky valve

Solution

- Check bed sample vs discharge pipe sample (before and after valving); special caution on backwash inlet valve - Check limit stops on valve operators - Check air pressure on pneumatic valves - Check sealing gaskets on multiports - Check for physical damage due to water hammer

Flow rates too high Insufficient reaction time (kinetics) Flow rates too low Poor distribution channeling

- Reduce flow

- Place one or more units in standby to increase flowrate - Recycle treated water to inlet - See Resin fouling above under Reduced Throughput - Check resin level at exhaustion and add resin as needed

Resin fouling

For counter-current regeneration, a loss of inert (inactive) resin allows resin migration which, in turn, causes high leakage In counter-current regeneration, it is important to use demineralized water for caustic dilution and displacement rinse

High Pressure Drop


Bed compaction - Check flow and temperature for sufficient backwash - Air or mechanical scour prior to backwash - Remove with backwash - P increases with higher viscosity at lower temperature

Resin fines Lower water temperature

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Possible Cause
High Pressure Drop
Increased flow rate

Solution
- P increases with flow (do not exceed specified P) - Check and adjust all valves

Valve partially closed Internal distributor blockage With resin, iron, debris Plugged underdrain Resin or subfill in collectors or outlet strainers Resin fouling

- Inspect strainers and clean - Repair / clean distributors - Inspect internals

- See Resin fouling above under Reduced Throughput

Low Pressure Drop


NOTE: Low pressure drop is not necessarily a problem in itself; however, it may be a symptom of a problem. Reduced flow Increased temperature - P decreases with flow - Lower viscosity - Check wash rate at higher temperature

Resin loss, reduced bed depth Underdrain failure


Resin attrition Resin loss

- Check for loss to sewer during backwash and rinses - Inspect and repair - See Resin loss above under Reduced Throughput

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chapter 4 mixed bed demineralizer

Possible Cause
Reduced Throughput / Poor Effluent Quality

Solution

NOTE: Most comments for cation and anion apply to mixed-bed demineralizers and for best performance always use mixed-bed grade resin. Poor primary exchanger performance Poor separation of mixed bed in first step of regeneration - Troubleshoot primary cation and anion exchangers - Check flowrates and temperature of backwash water - Check for proper resin vs mid-collector interface location - Insure use of mixed-bed grade resin - Add cation resin

Interface too low because of loss of cation resin Interface too high because of separation and anion trapped within cation bed Interface too high because of overcharging of cation resin Cross contamination

- Check flowrates and temperature of backwash water - Correct flowrates - Remove appropriate amount of cation resin - Result of poor separation of the cation and anion resins; improper interface location due to loss or overcharging of cation resin - Insure adequate blocking flow

Acid in the anion zone which causes SO4 leakage and early anion exhaustion

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Possible Cause
Reduced Throughput / Poor Effluent Quality
Caustic in the cation zone which causes Na leakage and early cation exhaustion Insufficient displacement rinse which results in resin crosscontamination and high effluent conductivity Insufficient mixing after regeneration step caused by insufficient air flow Improper draindown prior to air mix

Solution

- Insure adequate blocking flow

- Extend displacement rinse to achieve acceptable conductivity

- Check and adjust air flow

- Check water level prior to air mix - Adjust setting for water level - Perform a slow fill through the caustic distributor followed by a fast fill through the service inlet - Poor resin separation (see above) - Cross contamination (see above)

Fluidization and reseparation of the bed during refill due to excess flowrate

Excessive Final Rinse

Premature silica break Silica precipitation due to contact with acid

- Start acid injection 20 minutes after start of caustic injection

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SYBRON CHEMICALS INC.


A Bayer Company 100 Bayer Road Pittsburgh, PA 15205-9741 Phone: 412 777-2000

200 Birmingham Road Birmingham, NJ 08011 Phone: 609 893-1100

Sybron.IonExchange@Bayer.com www.ionexchange.com

100 Bayer Road Pittsburgh, PA 15205-9741 Phone: 412 777-2000


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