Brine Tank Inlet Water - Cloud of Debris, Floating Flakes

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Overland Park, KS
I have a 10yr old Fleck 5600SXT system using 10% crosslinked resin on city water. Has operated fine for 9+ years with no issue. Noticed the brine tank getting really nasty a few months ago and did a full drain/clean rinse a month ago. Before I put salt back in the brine tank, I added a bottle of Res Care and ran a manual regen, closely watching the brine fill. I was able to capture the fill water flowing into the tank with clouds of fine debris in it.

Video link -

I've been contemplating that it may be time to replace the resin since that time. I went down to check on the brine tank this past weekend, 30 days after doing the deep clean, and the water is already a brown color with large floating particles in the water. I pulled a sample out to examine closer.

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Thoughts on what I'm fighting here? Thanks!


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Ontario, Canada
Are you certain your incoming municipal water is clear and free of debris?

The appearance and color of the particles, seems very similar to carbon media that is beginning to break down and disintegrate. Was any carbon media mixed in with the softening resin? If any carbon had been added to the resin, it would not be unusual for that carbon media to begin to disintegrate within 10 years.

While carbon is a fantastic and effective water filtration media, it should not be mixed with softening resin even as some water treatment dealers advocate doing so. When carbon is utilized, it should be installed in a separate tank which is equipped with it's own backwashing control valve. Carbon is normally replaced after 5-8 years, depending on the quantity of carbon and the contaminants it is intended to remove.

Because the 5600 does not normally fill the brine tank with soft water, particles resulting from failing media, should not normally be observed within the brine tank, but, if the softener had been installed incorrectly, with inlet and outlet connections reversed as occaisionally occurs, perhaps it maybe possible for some media breakdown to enter the brine tank during the Brine Fill cycle.

First, verify your softener is plumbed correctly. When standing facing the 5600 from the front, the incoming flow should enter the rightmost connection on the backside, so the softwater supplied to the home's fixtures should exit through the leftmost connection after flowing through the softener's flow meter.

Because your water supplier utilizes Chloramine (chlorine & ammonia) as a disinfectant, another potential possibility is the chloramine is deteriorating the 5600's soft internal components.


1) Pull the 5600 piston to inspect/replace the seals, spacers (and possibly the piston if the piston's Teflon coating is scratched or has flaked off).

2) Dismantle the Brine valve & replace the O rings and brine piston.

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