What Is Reverse Osmosis Water Filtration?
The drinking water that comes out of our faucets may not be as clean as we like to think. Even if you have some sort of filtration system, odds are your drinking water still contains a variety of unwanted particulates. If you want to ensure that the water you and your family drink is pure, clean, and great-tasting, then a reverse osmosis water filtration system may be what you need.
What Is Reverse Osmosis?
Reverse osmosis is a filtration process that uses a membrane to separate particulates, ions, and molecules from a solution (like water). (1)
History of Reverse Osmosis
The process of reverse osmosis is one that scientists have known about for over a century. While scientists knew about the process in labs, however, people didn’t start using it commercially until about the 1950s. (1, 2) Outside of labs, the first use of reverse osmosis was at the University of California in Los Angeles when they used the process to desalinate (or remove the salt from) seawater. (1)
Even though reverse osmosis was used outside of labs in the mid 20th century, it wasn’t until the beginning of the 21st century that manufacturing plants began to use it commercially. This is because, prior to this point, the process of using reverse osmosis was so slow that it just wasn’t practical. (1) Since modifications have been made to speed up the process, however, reverse osmosis has a variety of uses, such as mineral reclamation, treating wastewater, purifying water, making processed water for dialysis in hospitals, producing cosmetics and pharmaceutical drugs, and more. (2)
How Does Reverse Osmosis Work?
To understand how reverse osmosis works, let’s first review what traditional osmosis is. Osmosis is a process where molecules move across a semipermeable membrane from an area of higher concentration to an area of lower concentration. By passing through a membrane, molecules are sifted out, allowing water to pass through but not larger molecules. (1)
Reverse osmosis is just how it sounds: instead of moving water from a higher concentration to a lower one, it moves water across a membrane from a lower concentration to a higher one. (1) Because reverse osmosis moves water against the natural flow of higher to lower concentration, it requires pressure to force water through the membrane. (3)
In addition to using a reverse osmosis membrane, many reverse osmosis filtration systems also have other filtration processes before the final product is collected. For many typical reverse osmosis filtration systems, water is often pretreated by filtering through a sand bed, a chlorinator tank, an activated charcoal filter, a degasifier, a microfilter, a deionizer, and more. (2)
What Does Reverse Osmosis Filtration Remove?
Reverse osmosis membranes can filter out a variety of contaminants in your drinking water. It can filter out most organic substances like oils, bacteria, viruses, metals, and more. (1, 2) It can also remove up to 99% of radionuclides like radium and uranium, as well as other harmful contaminants like arsenic and nitrate. (3)
As mentioned above, most reverse osmosis filtration systems use additional filters to further purify the water. Depending on which filtration system you use, you may also have a sediment filter that removes dust, dirt, and rust; a carbon filter that reduces the amount of chlorine and volatile organic compounds in the water; or a membrane that removes up to 98% of total dissolved solids (TDS). (4)
All in all, the FDA states that reverse osmosis filtration systems are capable of producing water that is sufficiently pure to be used as Water for Injection (water used to manufacture injectable drugs that require a water solvent) and to prepare parenteral solutions (sterile pharmaceutical injections). (2) That’s a pretty high standard!
The Echo RO™
Today, reverse osmosis filtration isn’t something that is only available in manufacturing plants; it’s something you can access right in your own home! The Echo RO™ is an in-home reverse osmosis filtration system that plugs directly into your cold waterline and gives you pure, clean, great-tasting water directly from your faucet.
The Echo RO™ has a robust four-stage filtration system. As water flows through the system, it passes through the following filters:
- 5-micron spun polypropylene filter that removes rust, suspended solids, and other large particles
- Non-pickled coconut shell carbon block filter that removes chlorine, odor, organics, and turbidity (cloudiness)
- Reverse osmosis membrane that removes heavy metals, dissolved matter, bacteria, and salinity
- Non-pickled coconut shell activated carbon post filter that removes any residual chlorine and odor and improves taste
When you use the Echo RO™ to purify your drinking water, you are giving yourself the chance for a healthier way of living. And with a powerful, efficient filtration system like this one, you can be confident that the water you drink is as clean as it can get.