Micro Media Filtration Proving Effective in Produced Water Softening Systems

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Courtesy of Eco-Tec Inc.

Having an eff ective, durable pretreatment system in advance of ion exchange produced-water softening systems is the fi rst, most critical line of defense – ensuring smooth, more troublefree performance downstream.

It’s especially true when dealing with today’s ion exchange technologies, which require TSS (total suspended solids) of 0.1-0.5
mg/L and turbidities of 0.1-1 NTU (nephelometric turbidity units).
Most suppliers of ion exchange resin would advise removal of
suspended solids to at least 1 mg/l or better through some form
of pretreatment and that some, but not all, of the residual solids
that accumulate within resin beds be removed by periodic backwashing of the resin. If allowed to accumulate, these solids can adversely impact water and regenerant chemical distribution,
will ultimately increase pressure drop, and degrade water quality
and quantity.

Furthermore, longer term fouling by solids and residual oil can make subsequent resin cleaning much more diffi cult, if not
impossible.

With the ongoing trend towards packed bed ion exchange systems, the sensitivity to solids fouling has increased even more. In these systems there is little or no freeboard space within the resin column making it much more diffi cult and, in some cases, impossible to backwash the resin to remove the accumulated dirt. This means resin must routinely be removed from the column and washed, with typical cleanings reported to be one to two times per year.

What Makes Sense?
So what makes the most sense, given the various options available? There is of course no such thing as a standard pretreatment process. In the past, the most prevalent ion exchange pretreatment options have been direct (depth) media filtration using a layer of granular media such as sand, and/or anthracite with coagulation... 

Considering the various positives and negatives behind today’s pretreatment options, striking a strong balance makes sense – in other words, maintaining the low capital and operating cost of
conventional dual media filters while addressing limitations and boosting filtration efficiency to levels once only achievable with membranes.

In recent years, multi-media filtration has advanced considerably – now boasting superior filtration relative to conventional media filters and filtration efficiency approaching levels similar to ultra filters
and micro filters. Combining greater filtration efficiency with the durable – basically indestructible – nature of media filtration means a significant reduction in cleanings, overall downtime, and many other related costs for plants.

For several years, design and manufacturing firm Eco-Tec, Inc. has been delivering a strong prefiltration solution through its advanced
media configuration known as Spectrum Micro Media, basically a
two-layer depth media filter with a number of features that depart from conventional designs; namely, a coarse media (either anthracite or nutshells) upper layer, a fine micro-media lower
layer, and high service flow rates.

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