Water Softener Gunk. Toss it?


Maybe 4 years ago we had someone service our water softener, and they replaced maybe 8-12 gallons of dark gunk that looks like fine grained black sand. It glistens in the sunlight. The service man said it was valuable and should be saved, according to my wife. I have no idea why. I'd like to toss it. Comments?
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Most likely those are the ion exchanger granules. Simply put, "hard" water has too much calcium (and sometimes magnesium) ions in it. This is what gives that water its undesirable properties. Chemically it is fairly simple to remove the calcium and replace it with sodium. The granules have a chemical compound attached to them that likes calium much better than sodium. However, due to the laws of chemistry, if you soak the granules in a brine ofconcentrated salt (sodium chloride), the calcium held by the granules is replaced by sodium. This is the "regenerating" of the ion exchanger. Once in this state, the ionexchanger will adsorb the calcium in your water and give up the sodium, making the water soft.
The expensive (somewhat replaceable) component of a water softener is the "valuable" granules you have sitting there. I suggest you either throw them away if local ordinances permit, or have the service guy come and pick them up (which IMNSHO he should have done in the first place).
--
Best regards
Han
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On 8/15/2010 9:52 AM, Han wrote:

sand. I do believe he mentioned it's expensive. If he replaced it, why would I ever want to use the old stuff? We get our water from a well. What are the components of this sandy stuff?
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I'm not aware of effects of too much K, but it is certainly possible to remove K via ion exchange. The granules are mostly a sort of plastic, I believe. Again ask your local authorities how you should dispose of this, if the service man's company doesn't want to take it.
--
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Han
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On Sun, 15 Aug 2010 09:20:07 -0700, "W. eWatson"

What you describe is resin media used in the softener. Likely it is left-over from the service. Some resin media last for 15 years, so you may not need to change it again for many years. Some types only last for say 10 years and needs changing.
DAGS: _water softener resin_ for the cost.
Your call as to tossing it or not.
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On 8/15/2010 10:10 AM, Oren wrote:

I have it stored outside in a plastic container. It takes about 4-5 years for the sun to destroy the container. :-) It's kind of irritating to have this around.
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On Sun, 15 Aug 2010 11:52:38 -0700, "W. eWatson"

Toss it then. Resin media has improved over the past ten years. It will be even better, perhaps, the next time you need to change it.
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~ $100 (including shipping) per cubic foot (~50 lbs) new on ebay.... about the same online.
http://cgi.ebay.com/WATER-SOFTENER-RESIN-PUROLITE-Ion-Exchange-Resins-/320517886386?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0
I'd dump them into a heavy plastic bag or bucket and put them on craigslist for $40.
Don't toss 'em and add to the land fill when you can get some beer (or wine) $'s and someone can get a bargain.
cheers Bob
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On 8/15/2010 3:54 PM, DD_BobK wrote:

http://cgi.ebay.com/WATER-SOFTENER-RESIN-PUROLITE-Ion-Exchange-Resins-/320517886386?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0
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I wonder if some moonshiner somewhere can distill alcohol with that resin?
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W. eWatson wrote:

Shrug. If it is unused leftover, and not the stuff the guy pulled out of your softener, you can always put it on Freecycle. I've seen the strangest stuff on there.
--
aem sends...

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Chances are it's just resin. If it was removed from your softener and replaced with new resin, throw it away. If it was surplus resin that hasn't been used, you can keep it for the next time you have the softener serviced. Resin isn't that expensive.
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On 8/15/2010 10:20 AM, Robert Neville wrote:

dried, it looked brown. Kinda reminded me of bromine compounds. Ah, to have a microscope now.
Unrelated question. I have something basaltite that got wet and is very dense. I have no idea where we got it. Possibly when the house was built. What would it be used for?
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