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RECIRCULATION OF BRINE IN A WATER SOFTENING SYSTEM

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000194414D
Publication Date: 2010-Mar-23
Document File: 3 page(s) / 32K

Publishing Venue

The IP.com Prior Art Database

Abstract

A water softening system that includes means to re-circulate and reuse spent brine, such as may be produced during the regeneration of salt-based ion-exchange water softening systems, is disclosured. The system includes a resin tank, a concentrated brine tank, a recirculation pump, and a recirculation valve. The system serves to reduce the levels of brine discharge associated with conventional residential water softening systems by recirculating the brine used during the resin regeneration process.

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Page 1 of 3

197637

RECIRCULATION OF BRINE IN A WATER SOFTENING SYSTEM

BACKGROUND

The present invention generally relates to water treatment systems, and more particularly to in- home water softener systems. Specifically, the present invention relates to a water softening system that includes the means to re-circulate and reuse spent brine, such as may be produced during the regeneration of salt-based ion-exchange water softening systems.

Residential water softeners typically use cation exchange resins, which remove ions, such as calcium and magnesium ions, which commonly contribute to the hardness of water. During the ion exchange process, the resin releases a cation into the softened water. Periodically, preferably when the resin bed becomes saturated with the divalent cations, a concentrated regenerant aqueous solution, such as salt brine, is flushed through the resin in order to complete a regeneration process. In the process, cations that produce hardness, such as calcium and magnesium, are released into a regeneration stream and disposed of in a sewer or septic system.

Unfortunately, excess sodium chloride from the regenerant brine solution is also discarded. Backwash brine contains excess chloride, sodium, and potassium ions from the regeneration salts as well as naturally occurring ions removed from the source water that may have been concentrated by the water softener. High concentrations of chloride in the backwash are a particular concern. High levels of chloride in the groundwater used for drinking water can affect water taste and corrode pipes and fixtures. Additionally, chloride-laden water discharged to the ground surface may damage vegetation.

It would be desirable to have a system that limit the discharge of brine from residential water softening systems.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

Figure 1 is a schematic view of a water softener system in accordance with the present invention.

Page 2 of 3

197637

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

The present invention relates to a water softening system that includes a means to re-circulate and reuse spent brine, such as may be produced during the regeneration of salt-based ion- exchange water softening systems.

As is shown in Figure 1, the water softening system of the present invention includes an ion- exchange resin bed in a resin tank. The resin tank includes a water inlet for an incoming stream of hard water, and a water outlet for an outgoing stream of softened water. Additionally, the system includes a tank for storing brine for regenerating the system's resin bed. The brine tank and the resin tank are linked so as to allow brine to flow from the brine tank to the resin tank during the regeneration process. An outlet for disposing of the spent brine is further included in the resin tank. After the brine has been circulated through the resin bed, the spent brine is removed from the resi...