With Industrial Reverse Osmosis, Even Wastewater Can Be Made Drinkable

With Industrial Reverse Osmosis, Even Wastewater Can Be Made Drinkable

Posted on: July 17, 2015

The end to California’s long-standing drought is nowhere in sight. That said, water supply in the state is steadily dwindling, and pretty soon there would be nothing left if no solution is put into effect. So what are the authorities doing about it, you may ask?

Wastewater Can Be Made Drinkable

Popular Science contributor Brooke Borel was in California recently, spending some time at an event at the California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco. In the gathering, he met a few people from the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission, which previously talked about where wastewater goes and how water recycling works in general. Borel then inquired about how wastewater gets treated, and if the resulting water can be consumed per se; a welcome idea considering the Golden State’s parched status.

The short answer is this: wastewater can be turned to drinkable water, but only with the right technology; something that a number of California’s water treatment facilities already have. A good example is the Orange County Water District (OCWD), which is already producing 70 million gallons of treated drinkable water that’s safe enough to serve over 800,000 people in the region. The plant does this by virtue of a quite well-known water purification process: standard industrial reverse osmosis.

But how can a full-scale industrial reverse osmosis system do this? The process is rather simple: water is run through a semi-permeable membrane which acts as a filter, separating the contaminants from the water and thereby purifying it. It doesn’t, however, work in a “standard” way—that is, water passes through the filter and the contaminants are left stuck to the filter itself. A reverse osmosis system employs a process called “cross filtration,” wherein purified water goes one way and contaminated water goes another way.

The effectiveness of reverse osmosis cannot be understated—water which comes out of an RO system is actually cleaner than what people can usually buy in a store on numerous occasions. This is due to RO’s capability to remove over 99 percent of contaminants, including dissolved salts (ions), particles, organics, bacteria, and other impurities. Furthermore, the RO process itself is aided by additional purification methods like zapping the water with high-intensity UV light and introducing hydrogen peroxide to kill any trace organics left.

A future vision of the world largely (if not entirely) drinking recycled wastewater is still quite blurry, but current technological capabilities state that we’re getting there. For your taste of RO technology, contact a preferred distributor like Axeon Water Technologies.


Let’s All Drink Recycled Wastewater (No, Seriously), Popular Science, July 15, 2015

From Toilet To Tap: Getting A Taste For Drinking Recycled Waste Water, CNN, May 1, 2014

From Toilets To Tap: How We Get Tap Water From Sewage, USAToday.com, March 3, 2011

What Is Reverse Osmosis? PuretecWater.com

Category: Info Article

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