There are many applications for the process.
I decided to cover this one first and whole house reverse osmosis last.
Since wastewater treatment is the first stop on a long journey that finally ends up in your home.
The porous membranes in RO systems are the only active component.
They are basically filters. They work something like a pasta strainer, only the pores are much smaller.
Anything larger than the size of the pores will be removed.
Anything smaller will pass right through.
The systems are often recommended for wastewater treatment, because it would keep a number of contaminants from reentering our lakes, streams, rivers and oceans.
How does reverse osmosis work at a drinking water treatment facility?
In the same way as it would in wastewater treatment, but the pores are typically smaller, in hopes of removing smaller sediments.
But, you must remember that it is only ONE of the steps that drinking water treatment facilities use. And, they still can’t protect our households from contaminants.
That’s one reason that whole house reverse osmosis seems silly. If its used by the treatment facility, what more will it do for our homes.
Well, the pores in some whole house reverse osmosis units are smaller than those found at the facility level, so they may remove smaller sediments.
Some units filter down to one micron or smaller, but they are very slow and require extensive maintenance.
How does reverse osmosis work in a desalination plant? This is one of the best applications for the system. Specialized membranes are used to remove salt from saltwater.
It provides our populations with another source of freshwater. This is even more important today than ever before as freshwater supplies are in jeopardy.
In order for a whole house reverse osmosis unit to desalinize, it must include the specialized membranes. You would have to check with the manufacturer to be sure about using it for this purpose.
But remember that additional steps would be needed to insure safety.
How does reverse osmosis work in other industrial applications? Very well, in many situations, it is the best choice.
It can be used in maple syrup production and to concentrate liquids, such as orange juice. It is used by car washes to prevent spotting and to de-mineralize boiler water in power plants.
Whole house reverse osmosis also de-mineralizes, which is why it is not a good choice for drinking.
All of the naturally occurring waters on earth have some mineral content.
That’s what humans are supposed to drink.
All of us need to be concerned about synthetic chemicals that contaminate our water supplies and RO does not remove them.
We have traces of prescription drugs, chlorine, and cancer causing byproducts of chlorination, VOCs, herbicides pesticides and lead.
How does reverse osmosis work in the home? It doesn’t work very well, at all.
Of all of the things mentioned above, it will only remove lead. You have better options. Look for them.