Gravel in Softener Tank

Gravel in Softener Tank

When the filter beneath the gravel bed in a resin tank fails, which operates your soft water system,  it will allow resin to pass into the plumbing lines becoming  a nightmare to remove and could take weeks to fully flush out.  When resin passes through the softeners gravel bed and into the hot water plumbing lines it can restrict water flow and get caught up in mixing valves, boiler, aerators, pumps, filters and whatever else is in its’ path. Resin beads look like tinny pink salmon eggs or very small bebe sized balls. If resin is gummy or flat chlorine has most likely damaged the resin. Good resin should still have its’ round ball shape. But the real question is: If resin or sediment/sand enters your plumbing system, what steps do you take to flush them out of the drainage system in the restaurant? 

Steps to Purge Resin from the Plumbing System

1.    Validate whether the resin in the soft water tank has not passed through the gravel bed. If it has and the resin tank has not been repaired, bypass the soft water system until system/tank is repaired.
2.    Flush all hot water lines only throughout restaurant (it is extremely rare to have resin lead to the cold water lines).

a.    The first night of the incident have the boiler company drain the boiler tank until empty and drain out and stop any resin from making its way to the restaurant.
b.    Remove all aerators from faucets and flush.  First, turn on all the kitchen faucets without mixing valves. This will draw the resin out of the plumbing lines keeping most of it from getting clogged in faucets with mixing valves, pumps, filter, etc. Run Faucets for 20 minutes or longer if resin is still coming out. Sinks without mixing valves are: 

i.    Mop sinks (hot water only)
ii.    3-comp sinks (hot water only)
iii.    2-comp sink (hot water only) 
iv.    Bar 3-comp sink (hot water only)
v.    Bakery, Bar & Expo Dump Sinks (hot water only)

c.    Once the majority of the resin is believed to be removed from the system, then purge hand sinks with mixing valves (hot water only) making sure the aerators have been removed. The resin may get caught up in the mixing valve, if this happens a plumber will be needed to clear the mixing valve.  

3.    It can take days for resin to fully purge from the system, if this is the case repeat section #2.


Steps to Sand from the Plumbing System

1.    Validate the resin tank is in good order. A resin tank has gavel in the basin and sometimes the PVC pipe within the tank basin may become damaged and allow resin to pass through.
2.    If resin tank is not repaired, bypass the soft water system until tank is repaired.

a.    Note: If sand is coming from the cold water points of use only, including toilets and urinals, it is nearly impossible for gravel from the resin tank to make its way into the cold water system. 
b.    If sand is coming from points of use of the cold water lines only, focus energy on the main water line leading to the restaurant. 

3.    If sand is coming from the city:

Y Strainer

a.    Contact the city to research and solve the problem/breach in the system leading to the space.
b.    Contact a plumber to inspect proper operation of back flow and see if a ‘Y’ strainer can be installed in the water supply line prior the restaurant to capture any heavy sediment/sand/etc. 
c.    If water flow /pressure slows down then the back flow may be clogged and will need to be serviced.  

4.    Flush hot & cold water lines throughout restaurant. Typically sediment/sand won’t make its way to the hot water lines but if you have a problem with CrossOver (see our CrossOver blog) then you may see sediment/sand in the hot water lines. 

a.    The first night of the incident have the boiler company drain the boiler tank until empty and drain out any sand or sediment that may be in the tank. If you don’t see sediment/sand when hot water is running then skip this step.
b.    Remove all aerators from faucets and flush /turn on all the kitchen faucets without mixing valves first. This will draw the sand/sediment out of the plumbing lines keeping most of it from getting clogged in faucets with mixing valves, pumps, filter, etc. Run Faucets for 20 minutes or longer if sand/sediment is still coming out.    

Sinks without mixing valves are: 

i.    Mop sinks (hot & cold water together)
ii.    3-comp sinks (hot & cold water together)
iii.    2-comp sink (hot & cold water together)
iv.    Bar 3-comp sink (hot & cold water together)
v.    Bakery, Bar & Expo Dump Sinks (hot water only)


c.    Once the majority of the sand is believed to be removed from system then purge hand sinks with mixing valves making sure the aerators have been removed. Sand may get caught up in the mixing valve, if this happens a plumber will be needed to clear the mixing valve.  

5.    It can take days for sediment/sand to fully purge from the system, if this is the case repeat section #4. 

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