How Water Softener Resin Got Inside A Reverse Osmosis (RO) System Osmonics Reverse Osmosis

Recently Complete Water Solutions was called out due to a RO system having quality and pressure issues. Upon further investigation, we found that there was water softener resin inside the RO System. This resin came from the recently newly installed softener systems. The contractor broke the lower distributor (internal piping) in the softener system.

Why Does Internal Piping Break?

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This can happen a few different ways but the most common 2 ways the softener piping can break 1.) Media installation. When installing the softener gravel under bedding it is recommended to take your time. We recommend filling the softener tank up with water before installing the gravel. This will help slow the rate of which the gravel will fall to the bottom of the tank. This will help lesson the impact on the piping in the tank. The 2nd most common reason is not cutting the distributor piping to fit. This is more common on top mounted tanks or tanks where the valve sits on top of the tank. This is important due to the weight the valve may put on the piping. If the pipe is cut to long it can crush or put a lot of stress on the lower internal piping causing it to eventually break.

Other not so common ways, hot water or heat, chemical incompatibility, vacuum, pressure, manufacture defect, corrosion, water hammer and others.

Once the internal pipe breaks on the softener system the resin will leak past into the water line. Once resin gets into your water lines it is very hard to get out and can be found for years after. We recommend installing a Y strainer down stream of the softener to help provide some insurance and re-assurance that if the pipe were to break that the resin would get trapped in the strainer.


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In this case the customer did not have a strainer down stream and the resin ended up in the RO System. We had some question as to why it did not get stopped in the pre filter. It did, however the pre filter had so much resin in it that the DP across the filter was so great that it began to pass through and ended up in the RO. Pre filters are meant to stop a little bit of debris, but are not meant to stop all the resin in a water softener.

If you need help with your RO system contact complete water solutions (855) 787-4200

About The Author

Nathan Olszak
28 Year Of Water Treatment Equipment Experience. I have been blessed with the opportunity to learn from the ground up. Starting in the water treatment field as a service technician. Servicing all major brands of water treatment equipment. Give Us A Call (855) 787-4200 or Email

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