Water softener problem

Recently I started noticing a fine gold colored sediment in the sink that o ur water softener drains to during the backwash cycle. It is not a huge am ount but a lot is probably going down the drain. It showed up a few times now so I called the water softener company and the woman answering the phon e spoke to a technician who told her I should shut the unit down and put it on bypass until someone can come out and look at it. She said that there is a risk that our pipes could become clogged.
I was reading up on this and it I am thinking this might be the result of the beads becoming worn down from friction and somehow they are able to pa ss out during the backwash cycle. I read something about that online but I 'm not sure if it is my problem. The unit is probably about 5 years old at this point.
If anyone can shed any light on what might be the problem here or point me to any online explanation I would appreciate it.
The repair guy is coming Monday and I want to understand it better before h e sells me a brand new tank or some other type of system.
Thanks in advance.
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On Fri, 23 Dec 2016 01:37:42 -0800 (PST), " snipped-for-privacy@hotmail.com"

That does sound like beads. If the strainers are intact there is something wrong with the beads. I got a load of beads for mine for about $100 (a cubic foot). They were 20 years old. The trick is getting a water softener guy to order them. They may be available on the net now tho. There are a couple of sites that have water softener parts.
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