People living in developed parts of the world are very lucky in that they often live in municipalities that feature wonderful luxuries such as clean air, green space and pure, clean and great tasting drinking water. Unfortunately, many people in big cities or rural areas of the developed world, and all over much of the developing world do not have the luxury of clean drinking water. They are often forced to boil water from the tap before using it, or, in the very worst cases, draw and treat water from a contaminated source. Lack of access to clean, pure drinking water is one of the biggest problems facing the world today. After all, people need 8 full glasses of water every day in order to thrive in the healthiest way possible. Luckily for people all over the world, scientists and engineers have harnessed the power of a natural process and created reverse osmosis systems to purify drinking water.
Every school child has heard of osmosis, often to the tune of a teacher or parent saying “You need to study! Or do you think you can just sleep on your school books and learn everything you need to know by osmosis?” Osmosis is, of course, the process by which a solvent moves from an area of low liquid (or solute) concentration to an area of high liquid concentration by passing through a membrane. The reverse osmosis system works exactly the opposite, allowing the liquid – in this case, drinking water – to pass through a membrane while the impurities remain on the other side. And that is how a reverse osmosis system creates clean, pure drinking water for people in developing and developed countries alike.
Reverse osmosis systems used to purify drinking water are a matter of fairly simple science. And important part of a reverse osmosis system is the filter. The filter, which works just like the membrane most school children learn about in biology class, traps particles such as dirt, rust, lead and calcium carbonate, that usually make water unfit to drink. Sometimes a reverse osmosis system features not one filter, but two. The second filter features smaller pores. This allows for even finer filtering of contaminants from the drinking water.
One type of filter found in reverse osmosis systems is an activated carbon filter. This filter is used to trap organic chemicals (hence, “carbon”) and also chlorine. This filter is extremely important because organic chemicals and chlorine often attack reverse osmosis membranes and would degrade the functionality of the reverse osmosis system filter.
You might not think about the need for a lamp when filtering drinking water, but many reverse osmosis systems do indeed come equipped with a lamp. In this case, an ultra-violet lamp. These lamps are used for disinfecting the device and killing any microbes that may have escaped filtering by the reverse osmosis membrane.
If you are in the market for a reverse osmosis system, it is a very good idea to contact a water filtration professional. For one, water problems in every area are different. If you draw water from a well, for example, you may be dealing with a very isolated water problem, such as contaminants from an industrial site or a mineral deposit. A water filtration expert will be able to run scientific tests on your water and make a recommendation about what type of water filtration system you need. Reverse osmosis systems can break down under certain circumstances, so for the sake of you and your family’s safety, be sure to ask a water filtration expert before you drink up after installing a reverse osmosis system.