Monday, December 23, 2013

Residential Water Treatment - Reverse Osmosis

What is Reverse Osmosis & how does it work?

Reverse osmosis is a procedure of water distillation that has been used primarily for the desalination of seawater. To comprehend the RO process, it is first necessary to understand osmosis. The term for the fact, if a semi-permeable membrane separates two salt solutions of different concentration, the water will migrate from the weaker solution through the membrane to the stronger solution, until the solutions are of the identical salt concentration.

Reverse osmosis challenges this process. It involves applying pressure to reverse the natural flow of water, forcing the water to move from the more concentrated solution to the weaker solution. The semi-permeable membrane is porous, allowing water to pass through, but blocking the passage of the bulkier salt molecules. The conclusion is water without salt on one side of the membrane. This technique has been used as a method of purification for ground and surface fresh water, in addition to its role as a desalinating agent.

Working with such water sources creates some problems for the reverse osmosis system, because of the very small pore sizes involved in the membrane, it is vital that ground and surface water is adequately pre-treated prior to the process. Depending upon the hardness of the water involved, scaling of the membrane is likely to occur. If the concentration of the calcium or magnesium in the water (the chemicals that determine water's hardness) is at a high enough level where the chemicals are insoluble, it will create a hard mineral on the inside of the membrane, rendering it impotent

Pros of RO

1- It is extremely helpful in desalinization of water.

2- The method helps provide mineral free water for usage in photo printing industry.

3- It is also efficient in providing pathogen-free water.

4- It is highly recommended process for the areas where municipally treated water is not available and is an ideal water cleaning process for contaminants removal.

5- RO does not require and electricity. It saves from increase electricity bills.

Cons of RO

The reverse osmosis process contains several downsides which make it an incompetent and unproductive means of cleaning drinking water.

1- Some chemicals such as herbicides, pesticides and chlorine are relatively smaller than water and these chemicals can easily pass through the reverse osmosis is unable to clean water porous membrane.

2- Reverse osmosis as a method of purifying drinking water removes all the natural healthy minerals present in water.

3- The reverse osmosis processed water is natural mineral resistant. These minerals are essential for our body function. Water, when stripped of these trace minerals, can actually be unhealthy for the body.

4- Reverse Osmosis also wastes a large portion of the water that runs through its system. It generally wastes 2 to 3 gallons of water for every gallon of purified water produced through reverse osmosis.

5- It is an extremely slow procedure to purify water as compared to other water treatment alternatives.

6- This process requires pre and post carbon filters.