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How does the Reverse Osmosis process work in water treatment?

Innovation and technology are everywhere – including in water treatment. There are processes such as ozonation disinfection by Ultra-Violet radiation, among others. But do you know what the Reverse Osmosis process is? And how does it work? Is the produced water healthy? Read on to find out more about this subject.

What is Reverse Osmosis water treatment, and how does it work?

According to the World Health Organization, a process that has been used in the purification of water (such as seawater) is Reverse Osmosis. This process can retain up to 99.98% of microorganisms, toxins and the most varied components that may be present in the water.

Osmosis is the name given to the phenomenon that occurs when water, called “solvent”, flows from an environment with little concentration in “solutes” to a more concentrated environment when these are separated by a semipermeable membrane such as the plasma membrane of cells. This phenomenon occurs naturally and spontaneously due to the chemical imbalance between the solutions. This movement causes pressure in the direction of the flow of water. This pressure is called osmotic pressure.

As the name suggests, the reverse osmosis separation process is the reverse of the natural Osmosis process carried out by cells. Here, a pressure gradient is more significant than the osmotic pressure applied to the components on the more concentrated side of the membrane, causing water to flow from a more focused environment to a dilute one. In this process, synthetic membranes with permeability similar to living cells are used, where most of the solutes are retained.

Note that solutes can be any component present in water other than water itself, so the efficiency of this separation is high.

How does it work, and what are the advantages

Basically, in this process, the separation takes place through synthetic semipermeable membranes through which water is forced to permeate through its polymer matrix by applying pressure. As the permeability or “ease” of crossing the membrane for each component present in the water is different, separating the water into two distinct streams. A concentrated stream where contaminants are retained and the other stream of purified water free of impurities.

One of the significant advantages of this purification system is that it guarantees a high capacity for removing compounds that cannot be removed by conventional methods with the same efficiency, as is the case with the technologies currently used in the vast majority of water treatment plants.

Is the water produced via the Reverse Osmosis process healthy?

According to the US Environmental Protection Agency, the Reverse Osmosis process can demonstrably retain about 800 different chemical contaminants. Some doctors even recommend consuming the water produced by this process to alleviate the special clinical conditions of some patients. Therefore, water becomes beneficial since the method is very effective and manages to reduce many substances harmful to health to deficient levels.

The Ro Plant System

The RO Plant have an advanced water processing system, which has six stages, the main one being a purification stage via Reverse Osmosis. When passing through this stage, many viruses, sodium ions, pesticides and the most diverse types of contaminants, dissolved or not, are eliminated. In addition to the Reverse Osmosis step, the machines also have a simple filtration system to remove particulate materials, activated carbon bed filtration that adsorbs organic compounds that give the water taste or smell, and a treatment step via exposure to Ultra-Violet (UV) radiation to ensure the elimination of any microorganisms that may be present in the water.

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