50 Transcript

050 Day 1 of Industrial Water Week (Pretreatment)


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Trace: Hello Scaling UP! Nation. Trace Blackmore here, the host of Scaling UP! H2O and welcome to the special holiday episode of Scaling UP! H2O. You’re saying “What? A holiday?”, “What holiday is it?” Well folks it is a Water Treatment holiday. It is the first time ever that we are celebrating Industrial Water Week. Each and every day this week we are going to be celebrating Industrial Water Week. And we’re gonna do that by celebrating each and every day. So today, on Monday, we’re gonna talk about Pretreatment. On Tuesday we’ll talk about Boilers. On Wednesday we’ll talk about Cooling. On Thursday we’re then gonna talk about Waste Water. And then finally on Friday we will talk about Careers. An entire week just for us. And of course we have none other than James McDonald, friend of show, repeated guest, huge supporter of mine. We love you, James. You’re the one that went out there and you got a holiday for us, water treaters. So let’s hear a few words from James.

James: Hello Scaling UP! Nation. I’m James McDonald and I wanna wish you a Happy Industrial Water Week. Industrial Water Week is a grassroots open source holiday celebrating what we all do for a living, industrial water treatment. Throughout the week and during the theme days, please share what you’re doing that day on social media and tag it with #industrialwaterweek. Then, when it’s Pretreatment Monday, Boiler Tuesday, Cooling Wednesday, Wastewater Thursday, and Careers Friday, search for or click on #industrialwaterweek to see if what your colleagues are up to. This is especially important for Careers Friday, for those interested in joining our noble profession, can get a more informed idea of what industrial water treatment is really about. So get out there and celebrate.

Trace: Well James, thank you so much for such an overdo holiday. How are you folks out there celebrating industrial water week? Hopefully by now you’ve all gone to Hallmark and you’ve gotten your cards to share with your fellow water treaters. Well, I guess they don’t have those out yet. But they will because this is a very important holiday. And folks, if you don’t do anything else, reach out to a fellow water treater and wish them a Happy Industrial Water Week. Now, James McDonald, we just heard from him, he actually has a question for us to answer right here on our pretreatment episode.

James: Happy Pretreatment Monday of Industrial Water Week! My question for today is: What could make a water softener pass hard water sooner than expected.

Trace: Well, James that is a great question and it’s a great question because I know for a fact that that has happened to everybody out there listening. The softener should be soft and it’s not. It’s hard. And now everybody is looking at us to figure out what is going on with this water softener. Of course, it’s our fault that it’s not working and we’ve got to fix it. Is there any reason why we needed a holiday? Everybody blames us for everything and it’s mostly not our fault but we are proven innocent after being assumed guilty. That’s just what comes with being a water treater, folks. So let’s talk about some of the items that could be going on. And keep in mind, we’re gonna be answering questions like this throughout the week and there’s not a lot of information in these questions. So, as a water treater, we need to know specifics about what’s going on at that particular location with that particular piece of equipment. After all that’s why they call us water treatment professionals. We need to figure out what the problem is and then we need to backtrack to find out what is and what isn’t the problem. So let’s just list a couple of items that that might be. The first one that comes to mind is channeling. And folks, if you don’t know out there what channeling is, let’s imagine where we can look inside that resin bed inside the softener and the water will actually start to drill down into that resin to create a channel and now we don’t have water passing through the resin, we have water bypassing the resin going from the top to the bottom. It’s not getting the hardness removed or exchanged so we now have hard water. Now, a lot of times that would happen because the softener is running too long and if you have an oversized water softener or maybe it doesn’t regenerate for at least a week or something like that there might be an issue with the channeling and that waters bypassing by. I see this happen a lot especially when new softeners go in and or you replace resin and people think that they can squeeze every last little drop of hardness capability out of that resin. And most likely you probably can but you need to figure out how long it’s gonna be until that regeneration cycle comes back on cause, again, if it’s longer than a week and that really depends- Is it always a week trace? Or it really depends on the size of the water softener, the pressure, the equipment, the temperature, a whole bunch of stuff. That’s why they call us water treatment professionals. But you might wanna look at shortening how long that stays on service.

Another issue, and this is an issue we have here in Atlanta, is that something’s wrong with the resin. While overtime resin will get damaged. Imagine every time water goes through it and it’s going either up or down through it. Those resin beads are crashing into each other. Eventually, they’re just gonna crack and break. So we might have some cracked resin beads and if the majority are that way, we’re definitely going to have a problem. Or maybe the resin is just getting old and it’s not regenerating. It’s not cleaning off. There’s something attached into the resin. So here’s the problem we have here in Atlanta. We have very old infrastructure which means our pipes are old and there’s a lot of rust in them. So we get that rust coming back as Iron. And Iron and resin absolutely love each other. They love each other so much that you have to really work to get them to separate from each other. Now, there’s some cleaners, and things that you can do, but folks, the bottom line is it’s really quick to get it to attach, it is extremely difficult to get that to come off of the resin. And if Iron is in the resin, we do not have Calcium and Magnesium in the resin. So that might be part of your issue as well. There might be that the resin is missing. As the resin gets cracked and small, a lot of times that can go out through back wash, so maybe you don’t have the capacity that you think you have in the water softener because we’ve lost some of that resin.

Another item that is probably what we should look at first, I don’t know why I didn’t even say this first, is the customer putting salt in the brine tank. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve received phone calls that the softener is not working and there’s this huge pellet of salt right by the brine tank but there is not a pellet of salt in the brine tank. So let’s check that and make sure that’s happening. Probably 9 out of 10 times that’s your issue. And then is the brine cycle working properly when it goes through regeneration? Are we getting the proper amount of brine being drawn and pushed through the water softener? Maybe it’s too short. Maybe we need to extend that. Maybe the brine tank wasn’t sized properly. I’ve seen people Frankensteined together softening systems where they had a water softener from one location and then somebody went to home depot and bought a home water softener brine tank and it’s just simply wasn’t large enough.

Another thing that can happen is that the salt can actually create sort of a crusty build up inside the brine tank and it won’t allow the brine to fill back up during the brine fill. So keeping that brine tank maintained and clean is very important. You know, maybe there’s some dirt and debris in the bottom of the tank and now the foot valve, where all the water’s coming back, maybe that’s all clogged. So you wanna look at all of that, you can pull things apart and check for suction as you’re going through the different processes when you’re forcing a regeneration cycle when you’re trying to figure out what the problem is. Something that I have seen in the salt that we buy generally isn’t as clean as it probably could be. So it’s got some dirt and a whole bunch of other crud in there that will all settle to the bottom of the brine tank. I have seen at least four inches in the bottom of brine tanks on accounts that we’ve taken over. One of the first things we do, we take over water softener, is we make sure the brine tank is clean. So, when’s the last time that you had checked that out?

The last thing that I will mention is user air. Now, we’re always gonna get blamed for everything but it may not be us. We had a customer that they saw every time that that softener backwash, we were wasting water. And they don’t wanna waste water. And then there are company that’s very familiar, If I told you the name would mean very Eco-conscious. I’m not gonna tell you the name. But with this, when we would leave after we had things programmed, they would quadruple how long that softener would stay in service before it went into backwash. Of course, we would come next time, and if we were lucky, we would find it hard or ,what happened a lot of times, was we actually missed when it regenerated and it was producing soft water when we were there but just a week before it wasn’t. And then we were seeing issues with our Phosphate, with our alkalinity not being what they should because it was going after that Calcium. So look at programming issues. Now, there might be issues where we, ourselves, did not program the unit properly or maybe our program was changed. Little bit of advice I can give you is when you program things, and I never use what’s set up from the factory because that’s too generic for me. I want to test my water, I wanna make sure I know exactly what’s in it and then I apply that to my cubic feet of resin and how much hardness that can hold and then I back calculate from there. And then that’s how I program the unit. And I write all that stuff down so I know what I did and a lot of times I’ll go through when we have our problem and somebody has changed that. A lot of times they were just looking at it and they hit the wrong button and maybe they brought it back to factory default or really messed it up. So those are a few things that you can look at to try to find why your water softener is producing hard water instead of soft water. But the bottom line of that is we are water treatment professionals, and as we’re celebrating Industrial Water Week, we need to act like professionals, we need to make sure that we are troubleshooting. We go in there with a list of potential issues and we’re just gonna simply check them off the list as we go down.

Well folks, as you can tell, I’m super excited about celebrating Industrial Water Week. Like I said, we are going to have a show released each and every day this week so I can personally help you celebrate Industrial Water Week. So tomorrow, we’re gonna be talking about boilers. But since we’re still today, on Monday, an episode that you might wanna listen to that get you into the pretreatment spirit would be the one with the RO Expert Westburn. If you go to http://scalinguph2o.com/35, you can listen to that and that will put you in the pretreatment spirit. And folks, I can’t wait to come to you tomorrow when we’re talking about boilers. Have a great day, folks.

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