Ion exchange is a common water treatment process used by many industrial companies to remove contaminants from their wastewater streams. However, this solution comes with a range of limitations and problems that can make it costly and difficult to manage. In this blog post, we’ll explore what ion exchange is, its limitations and problems, and a better solution offered by ElectraMet that helps to eliminate the need for settling tanks, chemical coagulation, and filter presses while not producing additional waste streams.


Ion exchange (IX) is a chemical process that involves the exchange of ions between a solid material, called an ion exchange resin, and a liquid solution. The IX resin contains charged particles, which attract and exchange ions of the same charge from the solution. In water treatment, ion exchange is used to remove impurities and contaminants from water. For example, ion exchange can remove calcium and magnesium that cause hard water, as well as other contaminants such as nitrates, arsenic, fluoride, and a host of dissolved metals.

Limitations and Problems with Ion Exchange

While IX is a widespread water treatment method, it comes with several limitations and problems. One major limitation is the production of a waste stream, which must be shipped offsite for disposal if it cannot be recovered onsite. This can be costly and time-consuming for companies. Additionally, IX often requires additional treatment steps, such as settling tanks, coagulation, and filter presses, to further reduce the waste produced, adding to the complexity and cost of the process. Finally, IX is limited in metal separation applications when concentrations are higher, making it less desirable for certain industrial applications.

ElectraMet: A Better Solution

At ElectraMet, we offer a better solution that eliminates the need for coagulation, filter presses, and produces no waste stream. Our solution is entirely new, chemical-free, uses low amounts of power, and takes up a small footprint at an industrial complex. With ElectraMet, we can return the metal to the customer in solid form, eliminating the need for costly waste disposal and producing a higher quality product that is more desirable for industrial applications.

How ElectraMet Works

Our technology uses known metal plating and oxide reactions in innovative ways to remove metals from wastewater streams. These processes involve passing a current through the wastewater, causing the metal ions to migrate to a solid electrode. The metal then forms on the electrode as a metallic or metallic oxide sheet, which can be harvested and returned to the customer for reuse. Because the process is chemical-free, it produces no waste stream, and requires only a small amount of power, making it an efficient and cost-effective solution for industrial wastewater treatment.


While IX is a common water treatment method used by many industrial companies, it comes with several limitations and problems that can make it costly and difficult to manage. At ElectraMet, we offer a better solution that eliminates the need for costly waste disposal, additional treatment steps, and produces a higher quality product. Our innovative technology can remove metals from a variety of wastewater streams using known metals chemistry, producing a pure or oxide sheet of metal that can be returned to the customer for reuse.

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