A reverse osmosis water filter is used as a water treatment process that uses a membrane to filter out unwanted contaminants. There are other types of membrane processes that can only filter out larger contaminants than in reverse osmosis. Other types of processes include:
- Particle Filtration (carbon, zeolite, calcite, mixed media, etc.)
- Reverse Osmosis
As seen in the chart above, there is an overlap between all of the processes. This is why it is beneficial to complete a water analysis to determine the types of contaminants in your feed water. Depending on the types and sizes of the unwanted particles in the water, a reverse osmosis system or another type of reverse osmosis water filter system would be recommended, along with one or more particle filtration (media filtration) systems before and/or after the membrane system.
Another factor in deciding which type of reverse osmosis water filter systems would be the best solution for you is the application the water will be used in. For instance, if the water will be used for drinking purposes, almost all particles should be removed, but there are certain chemicals that should remain. If you filter out too much, bringing the TDS levels to less than 5 ppm, the water is then considered “distilled-quality water.” Even though the water has not actually gone through the distillation process, it can still be called distilled-quality because it has extremely low to zero TDS levels. This means that the water is basically sterile and is not safe for drinking purposes. But this type of water is perfect for any type of medical application, such as pharmaceutical, dialysis, dentistry, and laboratory purposes. This water produced from custom-designed reverse osmosis water filter systems is also beneficial in microelectronics.
The FDA has lengthy requirements for what is considered acceptable drinking water quality, requiring certain amounts of different chemicals. The same principle is generally used in the food and beverage industry. Water that is used to produce coffee, beer, wine, soda, and juice must be of an acceptable quality for consumption.
The fastest growing industry for reverse osmosis water filter systems is not the industrial sector, including boiler feed water, industrial waste water, and process water. When using water in boiler feed water treatment, the main goal is to reduce the hardness in the water in order to reduce and possibly eliminate any problems and downtime in the system. With industrial waste water, it can be very difficult and expensive to eliminate feces and other waste contaminants. A custom industrial reverse osmosis water filter system with a large amount of pre- and post-filtration is necessary.