What is Reverse Osmosis?

In order to reverse the natural tendencies of water and salt movement and force clean water to flow from salty water, the osmotic pressure must be overcome, i.e., osmosis must be reversed. In order to reverse this flow of water, membrane systems, and Reverse Osmosis systems in particular, utilize a special constructed semi-permeable membrane element enclosed inside a pressure vessel. Pressure is applied to reverse the flow of water, the source of which is usually and existing, pressure is applied to the feed stream, water molecules are passed through the membrane while salts are retained in the feed. Thus, utilizing the principles of water and salts movement, and combining them with pressure and membrane technology, the natural osmotic flow of solution is reversed. Through this process, we are able to produce pure water by screening out the salts and other contaminants.

Reverse Osmosis Flow Chart

reverse osmosis flow chart
molecules reverse osmosis

What is the membrane and how does it work?

The membrane consists of several thin layers or sheets of film that are bonded together and rolled in a spiral configuration around a plastic tube. (This is also known as a Thin Film Composite or TFC membrane.) The material of the membrane is semi-permeable; it allows water molecules to pass through while acting as a barrier to dissolved solids, i.e., mineral membrane chemical contaminants. When the feedwater stream passes across the surface of the membrane, the molecules penetrate the membrane surface, working their way around the spiral and collecting in the center tube. The remaining contaminants are concentrated and washed from the surface of the membrane down the drain. Metals, organic compounds, and other contaminants are either too large or chemically unable to pass through the reverse osmosis membrane:

What contaminants are removed by Reverse Osmosis?

Typical Reverse Osmosis Contaminant Rejection:

  Iron 85%-93%
  Magnesium 96%-98%
  Zinc 98%-99%
  Chloride 87%-93%
  Nitrate 60%-92%
  Silicate 85%-90%
  Cyanide 86%-92%
  Sulphite 98%-99%
  Bacteria 99% +
  Manganese 95%-98%
  Fluoride 87%-93%   Ammonium 86%-92%
  Nickel 98%-99%   Barium 96%-98%
  Silver 93%-98%   Chromium 96%-98%
  Bicarbonate 90%-95%

  Actual results may vary depending on source water.

For more about reverse osmosis and our water purification systems, see FAQ.

reverse osmosis lake elsinore