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Below is a list of water treatment questions Nalco PTS representatives receive on a regular basis.

How do I update my obsolete Multiport Valve?

Many older systems have Solo, Solomatic, Bruner, Brunermatic, Permutit and Aquamatic Multiport Valves. Unfortunately, many of these valves and controls for the valves have been discontinued, and/or parts are extremely difficult to find or very expensive. When the tanks are in good shape, a "valve nest" and an appropriate control system is an alternative to a complete equipment replacement.

A valve nest performs all the functions of a multiport valve using Aquamatic diaphragm, Keystone butterfly, or other valves as specified by the customer. Using a standard layout with flexibility to account for various tank sizes, a valve nest is a cost-effective alternative to a multi-port valve.

Valve nests can be supplied in a wide variety of materials: cast iron valves with steel piping, bronze valves with copper piping, plastic valves with PVC piping and stainless steel valves with stainless steel piping. They can be adapted to filters, softeners, dealkalizers, demineralizers and deionizers.


How do I set the Brine Refill Time on Fleck® Softener Valve?

The Pentair® Fleck® multi-port softener valve controllers, electronic versions SE, XT, XTR and SXT and non-electronic versions, are very flexible allowing for customization of the regeneration cycle of the water softener. This flexibility requires that you know a little bit about the system and a calculation. The Brine Refill Time is easy to calculate and is the same regardless of valve and controller type. The following values are based on the design of the softener and valve.

T = Brine Tank Refill Time (minutes)
X = Brine Line Flow Control Rating (gpm)
Y = Salt Dosage sometimes called Regeneration Level (lbs/cuft)
Z = Amount of Resin in Softener (cuft)

In order to set the time you need to know the concentration of saturated brine C = 2.6 lbs/gallon = Concentration of Saturated Brine So the equation is:

T = (Y * Z)/(X * C)
Example: X = 0.5 GPM; Y = 12 lbs/cuft; Z = 2.5 cuft
T = (12 * 2.5)/(0.5 * 2.6) = 23 minutes for brine refill step 


Should the vessel for my condensate polisher in our boiler plant be constructed of carbon steel or stainless steel?

Over 75% of the condensate polishers Nalco PTS builds utilize stainless steel pressure vessels. Carbon steel vessels must be provided with a high temperature liner for corrosion resistance. For a condensate polisher with a diameter of 30" or less, the liner cannot be installed working from inside the tank and the quality of the lining is unpredictable. In fact, most liner companies will not warrant their linings if the vessel diameter is less than 36". Stainless steel vessels cost a little more but liners are not required. For condensate polishers 30" or less in diameter it does not make sense to even consider a carbon steel vessel with a liner. Nalco PTS builds a very economical line of standard stainless steel condensate polishers from 20” to 66” diameter vessels. Our standard designs employ stainless steel vessels, flanged and welded stainless steel face piping. Depending upon the size of the valves we use stainless steel Aquamatic diaphragm and/or butterfly valves. We have an option for smaller size systems using stainless steel vessels, threaded steel face piping and cast iron Aquamatic diaphragm valves. To learn more, visit the Condensate Polishers bulletin. 


Why should I treat my boiler condensate?

When a condensate system is not properly controlled or simply ignored, corrosion takes place. Iron, copper and other harmful contaminants are washed back into the boiler systems. This wastes energy because these contaminants reduce heat transfer. From this chart, depending upon the type of contaminant, a layer of 1/32" can waste between 2% and 7% of the fuel used in the boiler. A simple solution is to blow down the boiler to improve water quality but this wastes heat, requires more makeup water increases boiler water chemical usage. The cost effective solution is to "polish" your contaminated condensate for reuse. As more condensate is reused, less make up water is required, reducing both chemical consumption and energy requirements. To learn more, visit the Condensate Polishers bulletin.


How do you calculate the size of a condensate polisher?

The first step in calculating the size of a condensate polisher is to estimate the amount of water that will be used. This chart relates boiler horsepower to the flow rate in gallons per minute (GPM) and pounds per hour. For example, dual 194 HP boilers requires a demineralizer or softener rated for a maximum flow rate of 28 GPM. It will be less depending upon how much condensate is returned. The steam pressure and steam boiler manufacturer will help determine what the water quality needs to be. To learn more, visit the Condensate Polishers bulletin.


Where can I get replacement parts for Solo and Solomatic Valves manufactured by Aquamatic?

Solo and Solomatic valves (once a staple in the water treatment industry) are no longer manufactured and parts are no longer available to rebuild or repair. So, what can be done should you have a system with good tanks and broken or non-working Solo or Solomatic valve or valves? Any of these systems can be retrofitted using a nest of GE Aquamatic Diaphragm Valves. For automatic Solomatic systems, the controls can be upgraded to the current state-of-art electronic, programmable controls utilizing flow sensors, differential pressure switches, etc. For manual Solo systems, the multiport valve can be replaced with gate or ball valves for strictly manual operation or with Diaphragm Valves for manual, semi or auto initiation via a time clock or differential pressure initiation. 


How do I order GE Aquamatic valves and/or Aquamatic Repair Kits?

Nalco PTS receives many requests for replacement of GE® Aquamatic® valves and Aquamatic valve repair kits. The easiest way is to contact us. If you have the following information available when you contact us, we will help you quickly get the correct Aquamatic valve. If not, we can walk you through the selection. 

  • What is the size of the valve? 
  • What is the valve made of? Depending upon the valve size it can be cast iron, bronze, stainless steel, or PVC. 
  • What are the end connections? Depending upon the valve size and material it can be threaded, flanged, or union fittings. 
  • What type of actuator does the valve have? The options are normally open (Standard), normally closed, spring assist closed, spring assist open, limit stop, and position indicator. 
  • What is the diaphragm made of? Choices are BUNA (Standard), EPDM, and FKM. 
  • What process is the valve used in? 

To help you, please see the product information for liquid and air diaphragm valves: 


What are the special requirements for pharmaceutical water applications?

A water treatment equipment supplier should not assume that standard industrial or commercial water treatment equipment can be installed in a pharmaceutical plant. There are substantial differences in: design, documentation, materials of construction, fabrication, construction, startup, standard operating procedures (SOP) and maintenance. 

In particular, a water system in a pharmaceutical plant will generally need to be validated to comply with the United States Pharmacopeia (USP). There are standards for Purified Water and Water For Injection (WFI) that must be followed. Depending upon the water quality, the concerns are for but not limited to, pyrogens and bacteria. To give you a brief idea of the nature of the complexity, please review the FDA Guide To Inspections Of High Purity Water Systems. 


How does a softener valvenest work?

The ‘valvenest’ for a water softener is made of a minimum of six valves. Nalco PTS standard designs use Aquamatic valves. The easiest way to understand how the water and brine flows through the valvenest is to see this picture. 

The top flange attaches to the upper side port of the softener tank. This in turn connects to the top distributor. The bottom flange of the valvenest attaches to the lower side port of the tank. This is connected internally to the hub and lateral bottom distributor. The regeneration cycle is as follows: 

  • Isolation from Service 
  • Backwash 
  • Brine Draw and Slow Rinse 
  • Fast Rinse 
  • Return to Service 


How do you dispose of used activated carbon?

Companies who regularly deal with waste know that getting rid of spent ion exchange resin or activated carbon can be a fairly complicated process. Nalco PTS Technical Services Group removes (rebedded) spent media, ion exchange resin and activated carbon, from industrial water treatment systems. Part of the rebed service usually includes removal of the spent media from the customer's site. Nalco PTS and Calgon Carbon have teamed up to help our customers with spent activated carbon return. As a service to our customers, we accept spent carbon at the Aston, PA facility provided the carbon meets specific criteria and after receiving an RMA from Nalco PTS. Please contact us for more details.


Do you have an ion exchange resin equivalency chart?

There are many different ion exchange resin manufacturers including Purolite, Dow, LANXESS Sybron Chemicals Inc, Thermax, Rohm and Haas and ResinTech. We are often asked to provide a resin that is the closest equivalent to the ion exchange resin they have or need to purchase. This is a resin equivalency chart we use internally of the most common ion exchange resins and not an exhaustive of all ion exchange resin equivalencies. Nalco PTS does not guarantee the accuracy of this listing. It is, to the best of our knowledge, correct. Please contact us to confirm a selection. 


What Is DI or Deionized Water?

Deionized water, which is also known as demineralized water (DI water or de-ionized water; can also be spelled deionised water), is water that has had its mineral ions removed; cations such as sodium, calcium, magnesium, potassium, manganese and iron and anions such as chloride, sulfate, nitrate, bicarbonate, and silica.  Deionization is a physical process that uses ion exchange resins that exchange out the mineral salts from water. The majority of water impurities are dissolved salts. Deionization produces a high purity water that is generally similar to distilled water, and this process is quick and without scale buildup. Deionization does not significantly remove uncharged organic molecules, viruses or bacteria, except by incidental trapping in the resin.  Deionization removes cations from water by exchanging them for hydrogen ions (H+) on the resin and removes anions from water by exchanging them for hydroxide ions (OH) on the resin.  

Demineralization will typically remove all these salts except for traces of sodium and silica.


Calcium Ca++Bicarbonate HCO3-
Magnesium Mg++Chloride Cl-
Sodium Na+Sulfate SO4--
Potassium K+Nitrate NO3-
Iron Fe++Silica SiO2


Why is it good to have uniform particle size (UPS) ion exchange resins.

In general there are many advantages to using uniform particle size (UPS) ion exchange resins. 

  • Higher Regeneration Efficiency: According to Dow, regeneration is the least efficient step in the ion exchange process. Large ion exchange beads regenerate more slowly than small beads. The typical Gaussian mesh range is 16-50, whereas UPS ion exchange resins are 30-40 mesh, a much tighter specification. UPS resins have a smaller average particle diameter and will regenerate more quickly resulting in more efficient use of regenerant chemicals. So you use less and get a higher operating capacity.
  • Greater Operating Capacity: The kinetics of the UPS resins is more favorable than that of Gaussian. This leads to an increase in usage of the entire resin capacity from the top to the bottom of the bed. The net effect of the more efficient regeneration is higher throughput.
  • Better Rinse Efficiency: Excess regenerant chemicals diffuse more quickly from within the beads, thus decreasing the time required to reach the specified endpoint. Faster rinse times trim water and wastewater disposal costs. 
  • Reduced Leakage: The result of these increased efficiencies is an increase in production of pure water for a longer time since the leakage endpoint is extended 
  • Better Separations for Mixed Beds: Using UPS ion exchange resins in mixed bed demineralizers results in better separation prior to regeneration. With Gaussian ion exchange resins, the smaller cation exchange beads are easily trapped with the larger anion exchange beads. With better separation you get lower leakages, a better regeneration and greater throughput. 
  • Operating Considerations: Backwash Rates are lower when using UPS resins. Consult the engineering graphs prior to installation or contact a qualified equipment manufacturer to determine the changes required when upgrading to Uniform Particle Size resins. 

Helpful Links:UPS (Uniform Particle Size): The Key to Greater Productivity in Ion Exchange by Dow Chemical Company

How Can We Help?
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Nalco Pretreatment Solutions (PTS) is a leading manufacturer and supplier of services, systems and supplies for industrial and commercial water pretreatment systems for treating process water, product water, boiler pretreatment, and drinking water.
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