What is a Reverse Osmosis water treatment plant and how RO plant works

What is Reverse Osmosis (RO)?

Reverse Osmosis Water

Reverse Osmosis RO is a pressure-driven membrane process used for water purification of raw water, used to separate ions, unwanted molecules and larger particles that are found in freshwater. The water passes over the reverse osmosis membrane surface during the process, the product on the other end is totally clean purified water, ensuring a stable consistent process water supply.

What is a Reverse Osmosis Water Treatment Plant?

Reverse Osmosis Systems are cost-effective and modern solutions for process water treatment, treating water reliably and effectively. By using the latest advanced membrane technology, they remove the impurities from the water feed without the use of cartridge filters, chemicals, resins, or ion exchange beds, and because of this RO operating costs are low, and good for the environment too.

RGP Reverse Osmosis water treatment plants are available at different water flow rates and can be used to remove impurities and treat water from a range of sources to ensure the security of the water supply. Over the last 20 years, RGP has installed hundreds of Reverse Osmosis (RO) plants around the UK, covering many industries including Printers, Breweries, Distillers, Glass, Cosmetics, Manufacturing and more.

How RO plant works

RO plant works by using a high-pressure pump to push feed water through a semi-permeable membrane, then by applying back pressure, the water molecules are forced through the membrane leaving almost all (95% to 99%) of dissolved salts, molecules and particles on the concentrate side of the RO membranes, which runs to drain.

Reverse Osmosis water systems are critical investments, working hard on essential water filtration and often running 24-hours a day. RGP RO systems have production rates from 156lph to 1,260lph (dependant on feedwater temperature). They are 100% integrity tested with powder-coated aluminium frame for effective corrosion and rust resistance and have compact space-saving designs with low operation costs.

In most cases, a RO plant must be preceded by pre-treatment to avoid membrane fouling by sediments, hardness, natural organic matter (NOM), silica, bacteria, metal oxides or even chlorine. RO filters are highly susceptible to hard water damage, so water softeners are recommended to combat the scale created from hard water that will attack the RO membrane.

NOM, particles and colloids can be removed by a so-called “conventional treatment” consisting of activated carbon, followed by media filtration for low turbidity water. An antiscalant concentrated solution should be dosed before the reverse osmosis membranes to disperse calcium carbonate and sulphate precipitates in order to avoid scaling in rare feedwater situations.

Then, fine filtration (5-micron) is required as a last step before the RO membranes to prevent any debris, sand particles or piping material to damage the membranes. Before this step, if the water is not of low turbidity, the non-conventional pretreatment would be Ultrafiltration, which separates suspended solids, colloids, bacteria and viruses using membranes with pore sizes between 1-100nm.

As the RO process can take some time, a  storage tank is typically required to supply water on demand. Your RO system will fill the tank to capacity, and when you open your RO water feed tap, the water will be sent out by a pump and pressure set.

Our RO systems are easily accessible for maintenance, system servicing and monitoring performance. Depending on size, they can arrive pre-plumbed, wired and assemble for ease of use, and of course, are CE compliant systems, we operate a widely used regular maintenance programme that will ensure that your system will be kept in optimum condition with prolonged service life.

RO pays for itself

Reverse Osmosis is not only cost-effective, but it can pay for itself by protecting the equipment that it supplies with high-quality water. By preventing the formation of scale deposits on equipment, the function and energy efficiency of water using equipment is maximized. For example, mineral deposits (scale) tend to create a thermal barrier that coats heating elements of Humidifiers that produce steam, thus extending heating time increasing energy consumption.

Less equipment downtime and reduced utility costs, plus the continuous equipment protection that is afforded by Reverse Osmosis, ensures the fewest possible service calls for all equipment. Another plus side is because no heating or phase changes are needed, the energy required for RO is low in comparison to other processes of desalination.

How can RGP help?

All installations, services, maintenance and replacements are carried out by visits on-site by our trained service technicians who can provide all the technical supports in order to achieve the best results. If required, all the necessary spare parts can be provided by RGP too.

We ensure that you are informed of system performance and recommended proactive checks and measures are in place to minimise system downtime and maximise the longest possible system life. We will help you achieve reduced operating costs and solve any challenges that you face with any system issues.

We supply, install and maintain all equipment from filtration, clarification, disinfection, as well as reverse osmosis and more because our goal is to create an end-to-end solution that you can trust. We can build and install tailored treatment systems for all your needs, cost-effectively to deliver you a rapid return on investment.

Talk to us about how you can secure your water supply and make considerable savings on your manufacturing costs through water treatment. Our tailored systems help companies in all water areas make considerable savings by reducing maintenance and operating costs. 

Call: 01245 328191

Email: sales@rgpsolutions.co.uk

Interesting RO facts

Reef aquarium keepers use reverse osmosis systems for their artificial mixture of seawater. Ordinary tap water contains excessive chlorine, chloramines, copper, nitrates, nitrites, phosphates, silicates, or many other chemicals detrimental to the sensitive organisms in a reef environment. 

An increasingly popular method of window cleaning is the so-called “water-fed pole” system. Instead of washing the windows with detergent in the conventional way, they are scrubbed with highly purified RO water, typically containing less than 10 ppm dissolved solids, using a brush on the end of a long pole which is wielded from ground level.

Reverse osmosis is used in the production of low alcohol beer, as it allows the alcohol to be filtered out, while still retaining the full flavour and body of the beer. The cold temperatures used during reverse osmosis are much gentler on the character of the hops and malt – leaving the full flavour intact.