What is a RO Plant?

What is an RO plant? An RO plant, or reverse osmosis plant, is essentially

an industrial-scale water filtration system that’s made to supply water to

communities and businesses, rather than individuals and households. These

plants take in water from the ground or ocean (or other sources) and purify

it to the highest quality possible, before pumping it out into the public

distribution system. In this way, RO plants provide clean water to large

populations at relatively little cost. But what components go into an RO

plant? How are they used? What makes them work so well?

Reverse Osmosis Membrane


The RO membrane has pores that are five to ten nanometers in diameter.

Because of their small size, water molecules are able to pass through these

e membranes from a less concentrated solution into a more concentrated one

(e.g., from seawater into drinking water). The membrane acts as a filter and

does not allow dissolved substances to pass through it from one side to another

(e.g., salt, minerals, and organic compounds), removing impurities and contaminants

present in seawater. Reverse osmosis plants use two types of membranes: thin-film

composite and spiral wound. Thin-film composite reverse osmosis membranes have

tiny pores with uniform pore sizes throughout their structure, while spiral wound

reverses osmosis membranes have larger uniform pore sizes on top and smaller

non-uniform pore sizes on the bottom.

Sediment Filter


Sediment, or sand, is one of those pesky little things in your water that you can’t

help but notice when it’s in there. Not only does it make your water taste funny,

but sometimes it gets into your faucets and shower heads—that gross feeling as

you swallow a mouthful of water. An activated carbon filter will get rid of any

sediment, smells, and tastes from your water. It even removes heavy metals like

lead and mercury. If you want to drink clean water, then an activated carbon

filter is definitely for you! In a standard reverse osmosis system, pressurized

water is forced through a membrane that traps everything except pure H2O.

The two types of membranes used are thin-film composite (TFC) and ultra-

filtration (UF). TFC membranes are cheaper than UF membranes but they

don’t last as long. The lifespan of UF membranes depends on how well

they’re maintained; most manufacturers recommend replacing them every 2-3 years.

Carbon Filter


The carbon filter is responsible for cleaning out larger particles in water

such as dirt, rust, and another sediment. Due to its size and potential risk

of destruction, however, it’s a common target for fraud. This part will

need to be replaced more often than any other component in an RO system.

If you find yourself needing to replace your filter often, you may have

been duped into buying a fake system or a lower-quality product than

what’s advertised.

Control Panel


The control panel of an RO plant allows for complete management and

monitoring of every single process. It keeps everything on schedule and

all systems working effectively, ensuring that clean water continues to

flow into your home or business. The control panel is important to

understand so you can set up maintenance check-ups, if necessary.

Storage Tank and Connections


The storage tank stores all of your pure water, and it should be easy to access.

The connection between your building and your tank should include piping

for all three of these components: clean water in, dirty water out, and

wastewater out. While you’re shopping around for a contractor to set up your

system, make sure they have experience with installing all three of these

components at once. (It’s typically not a good idea to mix grey or wastewater

with pure drinking water.)

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