14-Dioxane Ion Exchange Resin Removes 1,4D from Water

Removing 1,4-Dioxane from Water with Specialty Adsorption Resins

Do you have 1,4-dioxane in your drinking water?

The emerging contaminant 1,4-dioxane has been detected in drinking water and groundwater across the country. It is a suspected carcinogen and can cause damage to the liver and kidneys.

If you have 1,4-dioxane in your water, you can use an ion exchange resin to remove it. Dupont developed a synthetic resin that is very effective at removing 1,4-dioxane from water. When the media capacity is exhausted, it can either be regenerated with steam or removed and disposed of.

Continue reading to learn how to remove 1,4-dioxane from your drinking water with ion exchange resin.

What is 1,4-Dioxane

1,4-dioxane molecule
1,4-dioxane is an emerging contaminant that has been detected in many public and private water supplies.

1,4-dioxane (1,4D) is a solvent stabilizer and chemical ingredient used in many industrial processes. It is a manmade chemical that is used as a solvent in paints and degreasing operations. This compound is found in industrial detergents, cosmetics and even food.

The EPA considers this to be a potential carcinogen, so it is important for people who have dioxane-contaminated water to remove the substance from their drinking supply as soon as possible. Since dioxane has been detected in groundwater supplies across America, it is also present in drinking water.

Industrial and other uses

The contaminant 1,4-dioxane is present in a wide range of consumer products. It is a by-product from the chemical reaction that makes materials water resistant and detergents less harsh on skin, so it has been found in dialysis solutions, shampoos and personal care products such as bubble bath or shaving cream.

Health risks associated with 1,4-dioxane

1,4-dioxane is thought to cause cancer in humans. Chronic exposure cause kidney and liver damage. This chemical has been linked to nervous system depression and stomach, as well as lung, symptoms.

If you suspect that your drinking water has 1,4D in it, you should have it tested. Removing the contaminant from drinking water is fairly easy to do, but it does require a little bit of work on your part.

Is 1,4-Dioxane in My Water

Every large public water supply was required to test for 1,4D under the USEPA Unregulated Contaminant Monitoring program. The results of this testing are part of the public record and available to everyone.

Widespread occurrence of 1,4D in drinking water

The contaminant 1,4-dioxane is present in drinking water and groundwater across the country. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has set a maximum contaminant level of 0.35 parts per billion in drinking water, but some states have reported levels above this limit.

Many public water utilities rely on surface water and groundwater for their drinking water supplies. Many of these sources of water are contaminated with 1,4D.

In 2016, New Jersey’s Department of Environmental Protection released a report that found more than half of the state’s public water systems had some level of 1,4D.

The State of California sampled more than 1,500 water supply wells and 1,4D was detected in 13% of them (194 wells).

The problem of 1,4D in public water supplies is widespread and troubling.

Private drinking water wells are also impacted by 1,4D. There is less information available for these drinking water supplies because testing is not required and not all data is made available to the public.

1,4-dioxane drinking water standards

How much 1,4D is safe to drink? The US EPA established a health advisory level of 0.35 µg/L for 1,4-dioxane. This is based on 1 excess cancer death risk for every million people.

California set their drinking water notification level at 3 µg/L. Other states have established their own limits for 1,4D in drinking water.

How to Remove 1,4-Dioxane from Water

Treating water contaminated with 1,4D can be accomplished with a few technologies. I review the available methods and their pros and cons in the following sections.

1. Advanced oxidation process for 1,4D treatment

Advanced oxidation processes (AOP) can be used to remove a wide range of contaminants from water including 1,4-dioxane. These include pesticides, herbicides and other organic pollutants as well as inorganic compounds such as metals or minerals. AOPs use powerful oxidizers such as ozone, hydrogen peroxide and UV light to generate very reactive radicals. The radicals are extremely unstable and react with these harmful chemicals to produce less hazardous compounds such as water and carbon dioxide.

Reverse osmosis for 1,4D treatment

Reverse osmosis is moderately effective at removing 1,4-dioxane from water. It has been shown to reduce concentrations of this compound 48 to 96%.

Reverse osmosis works by forcing water through a semipermeable membrane. The membrane allows water molecules to pass through while trapping larger molecules like 1,4D. It also removes other contaminants such as pesticides, herbicides and other organic pollutants as well as inorganic compounds such as metals or minerals.

The downside of reverse osmosis is that it requires high pressure to force the water through the membrane and the membrane eventually clogs up with contaminants. This means that the system has to be shut down periodically for cleaning or replacement of the reverse osmosis membranes which is a laborious process.

If you are treating drinking water, then RO should be combined with another treatment technology to ensure your water is safe to drink.

Adsorption resin for 1,4D treatment

Ambersorb 560
Ambersorb 560 is a specialty resin with a high adsorption capacity for 1,4-dioxane.

Adsorption resins are a versatile technology that can remove contaminants from water including many types of inorganic compounds such as metals and minerals. Dupont developed a synthetic resin that has a very high affinity for 1,4D called AMBERSORB 560 (Ambersorb)

Ambersorb is a synthetic media resin manufactured by DuPont. It is very effective for removing highly-miscible compounds such as 1,4 dioxane. Ambersorb is a carbon-based adsorbent material that is very hdyrophobic (water repelling) with a pore size that is optimized for 1,4D.

Ambersorb is much more effective than activated carbon for treating 1,4D. Carbon does not work well for 1,4D because of the contaminant’s high solubility and size.

In this application, ion exchange resins are effective at removing dissolved salts or other ions present in the contaminated water supply. These contaminants may interfere with softening processes used to treat hard water supplies so they need to be removed before

Adsorption Resins and 1,4-Dioxane Treatment

Adsorption resins are a versatile technology that can remove contaminants from water including many types of inorganic compounds such as metals and minerals. Dupont developed a synthetic resin that has a very high affinity for 1,4D. It is an excellent adsorbent material for this highly soluble ether.

About the Ambersorb resin

Ambersorb is a cost-effective means for removing 1,4-dioxane and other organic compounds from water. In applications with low concentrations of 1,4D, this resin has a very good bed life and can be used once and then disposed of. For sites with high concentrations of 1,4D, it is more cost effective to regenerate the spent media using steam. Steam regeneration removes the solvent from the resin where it can be collected with the condensed steam. The condensate (water and concentrated 1,4D) requires disposal.

How is resin used to treat water

POET treatment system with Ambersorb resin.

The Ambersorb resin is placed in vessels that are similar to those used for activated carbon filtration. Water is pumped through the vessels in a downflow (i.e., top to bottom) flow configuration. Usually, two vessels are piped in series, in a lead-lag configuration, to provide maximum treatment efficiency.

When the resin is exhausted (i.e., no remaining adsorption capacity) it is either regenerated or replaced with fresh media. Regeneration is performed by taking the vessel out of service, draining the water, and then flushing with steam to desorb the 1,4D. The steam is collected and condensed for disposal, or it can be treated and recycled through the boiler.

Design considerations

The Ambersorb resin has a maximum capacity to adsorb 1,4D. Vessels must be sized to hold enough media to provide a reasonable bed life (period before the media is spent). Usually, 6 months is used to minimize costs and disruptions associated with media regeneration.

Advantages of adsorptive resin

The Ambersorb resin offers several advantages.

  • Low operating cost with no electricity required
  • Media can be regenerated and re-used multiple times
  • Performs well with fluctuating influent concentrations
  • There are no air emissions
  • Easily scaled up to any size and flow rate
  • Simple operation
  • Minimal maintenance (backwashing and regeneration when spent)

Cost of adsorption resin

The Ambersorb resin is about 4 to 6 times the cost of activated carbon. It can be used in the same type of pressure-vessel as carbon with similar manifolding and instrumentation.

The cost of regeneration makes this technology very cost-effective with high concentrations of 1,4D. In low concentration applications, it makes more sense to remove spent media and dispose of it. The xref length times root info is not available.

Test Your Drinking Water for 1,4-Dioxane

1,4-Dioxane Water Test Kit
Tap Score has an easy-to-use test kit to measure1,4-dioxane in your drinking water.

Tap Score’s Home Test Kit for 1,4-Dioxane in Drinking Water is an easy and reliable way to test your water for the presence of 1,4-dioxane. This test package provides all of the materials necessary to collect and submit a sample for certified laboratory testing.

The results will include a detailed analysis of 1,4-dioxane by EPA method 8260B (or equivalent). Knowing what’s in your water is the first step to keeping your family safe.

Order your Tap Score 1,4-Dioxane test kit today.


1,4-dioxane is a chemical used in the making of plastics and paints. It can be found in our drinking water sources due to its use as an industrial solvent. Drinking water contaminated with this chemical has been linked to increased risk for cancer, kidney damage, and other health problems. Fortunately, there are ways you can remove it from your tap or well water using IX resin filters.

The synthetic resin ion exchange resin has a very strong affinity for 1,4-dioxane. It can reduce concentrations to below drinking water standards and offers a long bed lift. If you have 1,4D in your water, ion exchange resin filtration is a good solution (prev) for you.

Chief Guru

Richard Boch is a chemical engineer responsible for designing water filtration systems for industrial and residential customers. He has more than 20 years of experience with ion exchange, activated carbon, and reverse osmosis. Richard's expertise has made him a go-to source for municipalities and businesses looking to improve their water quality. When he's not working, Richard enjoys spending time with his wife and two young children. You can also follow him on LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook.

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