Remediation Technologies Screening Matrix, Version 4.0 4.48 Ion Exchange
(Ex Situ GW Remediation Technology)
  Description Synonyms Applicability Limitations Site Information Points of Contact
Data Needs Performance Cost References Vendor Info. Health & Safety
Table of Contents
Technology>>Ground Water, Surface Water, and Leachate

>>3.12 Ex Situ Physical/Chemical Treatment (assuming pumping)

      >>4.48 Ion Exchange
Introduction>> Ion exchange removes ions from the aqueous phase by exchange with counter ions on the exchange medium.


Figure 4-48:
Typical Ion Exchange and Adsorption Equipment Diagram

Ion exchange removes ions from the aqueous phase by the exchange of cations or anions between the contaminants and the exchange medium. Ion exchange materials may consist of resins made from synthetic organic materials that contain ionic functional groups to which exchangeable ions are attached. They also may be inorganic and natural polymeric materials. After the resin capacity has been exhausted, resins can be regenerated for re-use.

The duration of ion exchange technology is typically short- to medium-term depending on the factors discussed in Data Needs.

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Ion exchange can remove dissolved metals and radionuclides from aqueous solutions. Other compounds that have been treated include nitrate, ammonia nitrogen, and silicate.

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Factors that may affect the applicability and effectiveness of this process include:
  • Oil and grease in the ground water may clog the exchange resin.
  • Suspended solids content greater than 10 ppm may cause resin blinding.
  • The pH of the influent water may affect the ion exchange resin selection.
  • Oxidants in ground water may damage the ion exchange resin.
  • Wastewater is generated during the regeneration step and will require additional treatment and disposal.

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Data Needs:

A detailed discussion of these data elements is provided in Subsection 2.2.2 (Data Requirements for Ground Water, Surface Water, and Leachate).

Factors affecting the design of an ion exchange system include the presence of oil and grease, contaminant concentration, exchange capacity of the resin, suspended solids, metals, oxidant content, inorganic ions in ground water; and pH of the ground water.

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Performance Data:

DOE has developed compact processing units (CPUs), or "modular waste treatment units," which are relatively small mobile equipment modules. They perform unit chemical process operations. The CPUs allow rapid deployment of technologies for the treatment of radioactive wastes in underground storage tanks. The modules would be manufactured off-site by commercial vendors and moved into place using trucks or special transports. The concept of having standardized modules is based on the notion that various radioactive waste treatment subsystems could be standardized to match the CPU hardware package, leading to more rapid, cost-effective deployment. The cost benefits are realized even when multiple units are deployed to achieve greater processing rates. The modular design concept will also allow for reuse of CPU components for different unit processes or process deployments.

The ion-exchange CPU will pump undiluted liquid tank waste from an underground storage tank or receive liquid waste from a waste retrieval system for treatment. DOE Northwest Laboratories developed the CPU concept in FY91. Development of a cesium ion-exchange CPU technology is scheduled for 1996. A radioactive waste treatment demonstration is scheduled for FY97.

Another DOE technology, the resorcinol-formaldehyde ion exchange (ReFIX) resin, is being developed for prototype demonstration at the Hanford site in FY97. ReFIX resin is applicable to high-level wastestreams containing cesium-supernate salt solutions.

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The cost for a typical ion exchange system ranges from $0.08 to $0.21 per 1,000 liters ($0.30 to $0.80 per 1,000 gallons) treated. Key cost factors include:
  • Pretreatment requirements.
  • Discharge requirements and resin utilization.
  • Regenerant used and efficiency.

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Innovative Remediation Technologies:  Field Scale Demonstration Project in North America, 2nd Edition

Abstracts of Remediation Case Studies, Volume 4, June 2000, EPA 542-R-00-006

Guide to Documenting and Managing Cost and Performance Information for Remediation Projects - Revised Version, October, 1998, EPA 542-B-98-007

California Base Closure Environmental Committee (CBCEC), 1994. Treatment Technologies Applications Matrix for Base Closure Activities, Revision 1, Technology Matching Process Action Team, November, 1994.

DOE, 1993. Technology Name: Cesium Removal by Compact Processing Units for Radioactive Waste Treatment, Technology Information Profile (Rev. 2) for ProTech, DOE ProTech Database, TTP Reference No.: RL-321221.

DOE, 1993. Technology Name: Resorcinol-Formaldehyde Ion Exchange Resin for Elutable Ion Exchange in the Compact Portable Units (CPUs) Proposed at Hanford, Technology Information Profile (Rev. 2) for ProTech, DOE ProTech Database, TTP Reference No.: SR-1320-02.

DOE, 1994. Technology Catalogue, First Edition. February.

EPA, 1990. Innovative and Alternative Technology Assessment Manual, EPA, Office of Water Program Operations, EPA/430/9-78/009.

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Site Information:

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Points of Contact:

General FRTR Agency Contacts

Technology Specific Web Sites:

Government Web Sites

Non Government Web Sites

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Vendor Information:

A list of vendors offering Ex Situ Physical/Chemical Water Treatment is available from  EPA REACH IT which combines information from three established EPA databases, the Vendor Information System for Innovative Treatment Technologies (VISITT), the Vendor Field Analytical and Characterization Technologies System (Vendor FACTS), and the Innovative Treatment Technologies (ITT), to give users access to comprehensive information about treatment and characterization technologies and their applications.

Government Disclaimer

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Health and Safety:

Hazard Analysis

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