Ion exchange resins are essential for many industrial water treatment and separation processes and are highly effective in suitable applications.

It’s a dependable, extremely efficient technology with low cost and energy requirements. Properly cared for, your resin beds can last for years before needing replacement.

Despite the many benefits of using ion exchange resins, challenging issues can occur.

A typical problem you may encounter is resin fouling.

Below are effective methods for avoiding fouling, so you can keep your resins in top condition and your production flow optimized.

Resin fouling can become a serious problem if not dealt with early.

It can be detected when your system begins to need more rinsing, or becomes more sensitive to temperature and flow changes, or shows a degradation in operating performance and effluent quality sooner than expected.

It’s normal to experience a gradual deterioration in operating ability over time (depending on resin type and application), but foulants can accelerate that decline.

Common foulants include:

• suspended solids like silica and other minerals, in particulate or colloidal form,

• microorganisms and algae,

• oils and greases,

• other organic materials.

If your ion exchange system is fouled, care must be taken when cleaning them using chemicals and other methods to minimize the risk of resin degradation.

Acids are generally used to remove foulants from cation resins and caustics remove foulants from anion resins. Sometimes an aggressive agitation of the resin bed (e.g., air scour) and thorough backwash will help remove these foulants.

The best method is to prevent resin fouling in the first place by using proper pre-treatment to eliminate foulants before they get a foothold in your process.

Effective daily regeneration, storage, and cleaning will ensure that foulants do not accumulate in your ion exchange system.

The most appropriate cleaning procedure can vary widely depending on feedwater and resin type.

Please feel free to consult our community water treatment specialists to ask questions and learn the correct steps for dealing with this issue or any other you may be experiencing.