1-616-836-3535 James Smits is the founder and CEO of Frontier Solutions, a service contractor specialized in environmental regulatory compliance. His experience and unique capabilities in installing, maintaining and removing (when desired) a broad spectrum of SWPPP BMPs, both on conventional construction sites as well as during brownfield remediation, has rapidly established Frontier Solutions as a…
Anionic or Cationic or Ain’t it Ironic?
Polymers, Polymers, Polymers… We have heard of them.. “Are they plastic?” We know they are used in many things including flocculating dirt out of water.. “How Does It Clean the Water is it Soap? “I heard it kills all the fish!”, “I heard you can eat it” Blah Blah Blah..
The one thing we do know in the water cleaning business is that there are many types of polymers for different jobs. They are mostly divided between anionic and cationic polymers. Still confused?
Anionic polymers have (-) negatively charged ions so the postive (+) dirt particles cling to the polymer and start a snow ball effect creating a larger and larger floc capturing more and more (+) dirt. Yes opposites do attract….
Cationic polymers are (+) postive charged polymers and work in the same way. This is where the comparisons stop…
Cationic are fast acting and work on a wide range of soils.. HOWEVER.. since they are (+) positive charged they also are attracted to gills, respiratory features of living things and will kill or harm these animals and environments unless they are neutralized before the clean water is discharged. Cationic polymers require lots of due diligence and can cause environmental disaster if something goes wrong.
Anionic polymers are a little more fussy and take some more time to react however they are completely safe in the environment. Yes you can eat them…but you will not like the results on the other end. It is the fussiness of these polymers that caused Interfaceh2o to create equipment that utilizes anionic polymers so our clients can work with environmentally safe polymers while achieving consistent results.
The key to any polymer operation is mixing and contact time. Contact time is the amount of time the polymer is touching the water and starting to create a floc. Normal is about 30 seconds. Mixing is what gets the polymer in the water and makes it snowball to larger and larger floc particles (the larger the better) and when these two actions are correct we can take the cream out of your coffee. (OK dirt out of your water….but not just dirt lots of other stuff too).
The Floc Hog acts as a agitator (think of your clothes washer) spinning the water around the polymer logs creating turbulence and mixing. This continues down the discharge hose adding your contact time to get results. at 100 GPM via a 100′ of 4″ hose will give you 30 seconds contact time.
When things are tough, the big boy can move in and take the water from the floc hogs and continue mixing. It then creates a laminar quiet settling area which the water flows through a serpentine of jute matting to filter and polish the water resulting in clean water for discharge.
Well I hope this your questions about polymers!