Zeolites have many useful purposes. They can perform ion exchange, filtering, odor removal, chemical sieve and gas absorption tasks. The most well known use for zeolites is in water filtration applications.
The science of filtration has progressed exponentially in the last one-hundred years. We can now filter sea water with synthetic membranes by reverse osmosis to remove ions of sodium and chloride to make drinking water. We have available for our use nano-filtration, ultra-filtration and micro-filtration using manmade fabrics, membranes and hollow fibers. Electrodialysis Reversal can use electrical current to remove dissolved solids including low-atomic number ions from water. Still the majority of filtration applications call for inexpensive gravity or pressure filtration through granular media. In fact, the sub-micron filter systems still need suspended solids removal ahead of them to avoid fouling of the membranes.
The alternative Zeobrite® media is now available through widespread distribution for swimming pool and potable water systems. Zeobrite® can be used in simple filtration vessels manufactured for silica sand but Zeobrite® has properties that permit a higher quality of filtration. Zeobrite® has over 100 times the surface area of silica sand. It is a microporous media with millions of small pore spaces for entrapment of contaminant particle size from silt to colloids. The Zeobrite® granules are hard enough to last several years (recommended 4 to 5 years ) in a high-rate pressurized system with up to 20 gpm/ft2 backwash rate.