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Wastewater Treatment Solutions: What is Reverse Osmosis?


Wastewater is the liquid that is produced from industrial processes, including any resultant particles it may have suspended within it. In order to protect the environment and ensure that businesses are minimizing the risk to the natural world and other people, companies are legally obliged to ensure that they seek effective wastewater treatment solutions to remove any potentially harmful contaminants from their effluent before it is released into the environment. Reverse osmosis is one of the ranges of solutions. Let’s take a look at what it is, and how it works.

What is Reverse Osmosis?

Reverse osmosis is one of the many wastewater treatment solutions available to companies looking to safely and legally discharge their effluent. Put simply, it involves pushing the liquid through a semipermeable membrane at high pressure, in order to separate out any particles. This is a method that can boast both minimal maintenance and a lack of chemicals, so it is amongst the most popular of all the wastewater treatment solutions available.

How Does it Work?

Water flows from an area where there is less liquid compared to contaminants, to an area of where the liquid concentration is higher. This is in order to provide clean, drinkable water. It is called reverse osmosis, because in the traditional osmosis process, water moves from an area of high concentration of liquid to a low concentration of liquid, whereas in reverse osmosis, the opposite is occurring. The contaminants are blocked from moving through the membrane, as they cannot permeate through to the less contaminated side.

An Effective Solution

There are various different reverse osmosis units available, providing different flow rates per hour in order to suit a range of different industrial appliances. For businesses with higher volumes of production, a bespoke range of units is available, which offers a range of additional features and can be more cost-effective. The systems themselves are self-cleaning and self-containing, and only require minimal maintenance in the form of a daily on-site check from trained personnel within the company. All of these factors combined make the process particularly energy- and cost-efficient, and it has become a favored process in the aerospace and automotive industries.

Reverse osmosis is particularly popular amongst wastewater treatment solutions because it is able to remove above 99% of contaminants, including dissolved salts (ions), bacteria, particles, and organics. The contaminants are filtered out by the membrane on the basis of their charge and size. Any contaminant with a molecular weight of above 200 is likely to be unable to move through the membrane, and the greater the ionic charge, the less able it will be to filter through.

The process of selecting the correct wastewater treatment solutions for your business is a complex and difficult one, particularly if you feel you don’t yet have the specific expertise required to fully understand each process. Therefore, in order to decide whether this system is right for you and your needs, the best idea is to seek advice from the experts and benefit from their experience and knowledge.

Author Plate Sean Clifford is an advisor at AllWater Technologies Ltd, a wholly independent company providing consultation, equipment, and wastewater treatment solutions including reverse osmosis water systems. Bringing together a host of experience and specialist knowledge, the company is committed to building and maintaining long-term relationships and creating maximum value and benefit for its customers.