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Ion Exchange Removal of Boron From Agricultural Drainage Water

Published by the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers, St. Joseph, Michigan

Citation:  Paper number  012167,  2001 ASAE Annual Meeting. (doi: 10.13031/2013.7396) @2001
Authors:   R. A. Schoneman, L. P. Owens, J. E. Ayars, and T. Pflaum
Keywords:   Boron, ion exchange, drainage water, phytoremediation

This project investigated the potential for a boron-specific ion exchange resin to remove boron from agricultural drain water. Water for processing was collected from an agricultural drain on the west side of the San Joaquin valley of California. The process water was stored in a tank that served as the supply reservoir for the ion exchange column. A peristaltic pump supplied the column with water for treatment and samples of effluent were automatically collected with a sequential sampler. Samples were analyzed for boron. Results indicate the resin is capable of boron removal to levels undetectable with mg/L precision during the first 17 hours of column operation. The boron level in the process water was 8 mg/L with several other mineral contaminants (calcium, magnesium, sulfate-sulfur, selenium, chloride-chlorine, and sodium) present. A treatment capacity on the order of 200 resin bed volumes was achieved. A regeneration cycle removed boron from the resin in preparation for the next cycle of drainage water. The effluent was analyzed for boron to characterize the regenerant cycle. Boron was removed from the resin in the first half of the four-hour cycle. Analysis of samples from the last two hours of the regenerant cycle indicated that boron was at or below the detectable limits of the laboratory procedure. The regenerant can be used as a micronutrient fertilizer and cleansing agent for injection in drip irrigation systems. The initial cost and treatment data suggest a potential for mitigation of boron in agricultural drainage water.

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