Monday, October 6, 2014

The Vital Science of Water Purification

Population growth is followed by greater consumption of fresh water. This adds pressure to the already limited water supply in many regions of the world. As a solution, experts propose water filtration to draw potable water from various sources. However, which kind of filter is best? The answer that usually comes out is reverse osmosis (RO).

Put simply, reverse osmosis is the separation of pure water from salt and impurities. It was used to address the recent nitrate contamination in the waters of southern Minnesota. also reported that California likewise used reverse osmosis (along with other filtering processes) to clean the state’s waters.

RO is deemed effective because it is founded on a solid scientific concept. The system is based on osmosis, a scientific process that involves the movement of a less concentrated solution through a semi-permeable membrane into a more concentrated solution until both solutions on each side of the membrane achieve an equal concentration.

Through reverse osmosis, desalination and water purification can be achieved. Feed water (e.g. seawater, wastewater) is subjected to high pressure to force the water through the semi-permeable RO membrane, leaving salt, dirt, and other contaminants behind.

Thanks to RO, about 85% to 95% of contaminants are removed from the feed water. The amount of pressure needed to desalinate or purify the feed water is directly proportional to the feed water’s concentration. Households equipped with this type of water filtration system are assured of potable water free from hazardous compounds and other harmful microorganisms.

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