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Industrial Water Treatment Plant

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Industrial Water Treatment Systems

Reverse osmosis is anincreasingly popular solution in water purification. In many cases it hasreplaced conventional chemical deionisers. RO is popular because it removes therequirement to hold aggressive regeneration chemicals at the clients premises.It also does not produce a chemical effluent discharge. To many industries thesecurity of an RO membrane is attractive as is the ability to readily validatethe performance of the membrane.

OurReverse Osmosis systems are some of the best on the market and operate at areliable 70% efficiency with low energy membranes. So in other words, for every100ml of impure water you put through the system, you get 70ml of pure water toservice.

Thisis a pretty good ratio. You may find some companies promising you 80%efficiency, but you should be careful of these, as it simply means that theirsystems force the membranes to work harder. The result is that the membranes donot last as long and need to be replaced more frequently, thus reducing theoverall cost effectiveness of the system. You should also be very careful ofcheaply marketed Reverse Osmosis systems, as not all RO processes are created equal.We have come across bargain basement systems that have an efficiency of 25% orless. These are simply not worth your money and time.


How Reverse Osmosis Works

Theosmosis process is a naturally-occurring phenomenon where less concentratedsaline solution tends to migrate to a more concentrated solution. Osmosisoccurs everywhere in nature, from our kidneys absorbing water from our blood,to plant roots absorbing water.

Asemi-permeable membrane, usually made of thin film polyamide is used to cleanwater which is pumped past its input side under pressure of up to 15 bar and upto 220 psi in a cross-flow direction. From 15 to 70% of the water that passesthrough the membrane will do so as permeate, while the remainder leaves themembrane as a concentrate containing 99% + of the feed water TDS.

Reverseosmosis is the same process, but in reverse. This type of system will remove99% of organic and inorganic contamination.

Pre-treatment

However,Reverse Osmosis does not work on its own. The purification process is only asgood as the pre-treatment to the water that is feeding it. There are certaincontaminants that will damage Reverse Osmosis, including free chlorine, calciumand magnesium.

So youhave to pretreat the freed water with activated carbon to remove the freechlorine and then a water softener to strip out the calcium and magnesium,before it can be put through the RO system.

If youfail to do this, then the free chlorine in the water will degrade the membraneand let organic contaminants through, and the calcium and magnesium will scalethe membrane up, reducing its efficiency and working life.

Thisis the reason many industries consider Reverse Osmosis to be wasteful, timeconsuming and expensive. The conventional alternative is deionisation.

Applications for Reverse Osmosis

Reverseosmosis systems are typically used to treat surface, ground and brackish waterfrom small to large flows. Many industries use the reverse osmosis system totreat their water. These industries include metal finishing, boiler feed water,semiconductor manufacturing and pharmaceutical.

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Vulnerabilities

All ROsystems depend on good pre treatment to the feed water. This is achieved by theuse of Organic Scavengers, Activated carbon media and base exchange WaterSofteners. It is true to say that excellent pre treatment is a requirement forlong, reliable and efficient Reverse Osmosis operation.

ReverseOsmosis membranes will not tolerate any form of hydraulic shock. It isimportant that RO is installed in a carefully designed purified water systemwith all of the necessary safeguards and monitoring.

Thisis where an ongoing partnership with the experts at Wychwood Water Systems willpay dividends.

Chemicalattack happens when a membrane comes into contact with an oxidiser likechlorine, which will burn the membrane and effect performance. Activated carbonis a pre requisite for this purpose.

Benefits and Disadvantages

Areverse osmosis system effectively removes contaminants like pyrogens andcolloids, and is easy to monitor and confirm performance.

Thewaste stream, (concentrate) is flushed to drain during plant operation. Becauseof this 70% of the feed water is recovered as purified water, (permeate).

Common Mistakes Made With Reverse Osmosis Systems

Why domistakes happen?

AReverse Osmosis plant only works properly if three factors are taken intoconsideration:

1.Correct professional installation

2.Thorough pre-treatment of water to remove inorganic and chemical contaminants

3.Regular maintenance of the plant, including cleaning of membranes andreplacement where necessary.

Itgoes without saying, therefore, that mistakes arise to the extent that thesethree factors are neglected or ignored. Problems arise in reverse osmosissystems in cases where:


Signs there are problems with your Reverse osmosis system

Thefollowing should be seen as an early warning sign that something is notcompletely right with your RO plant. If you notice anything like this throughroutine monitoring or inspection, get on the phone to one of our engineersright away, before a serious issue occurs.

Reverseosmosis recovery rate is less than 70%:

Forany well-designed RO system, 70% recovery of permeate should be the goldenstandard you should look for. Should it drop below this figure, it should betreated as a ‘Canary in the cage’ that some maintenance is required. It may bethat your membranes need cleaning or replacing, or that you need to get someonein to have a look at the workings of your system.

Membranesare becoming clogged and/or scaled up:

Membranesshould be regularly cleaned in order to prevent buildup of organic material orcalcium deposits. However, they do also need to be periodically replaced. Witha well-designed and operated unit you can realistically expect a three-yearlife span for your membranes before they should be monitored closely for signsthey need replacing. A common (and costly) mistake some businesses make is toreplace membranes when a simple cleaning would suffice to improve performance. Theinclusion of a CIP rig in your reverse osmosis installation will help extendthe active life of your membranes and save money in operating costs.

Waysto maintain peak performance

Thereare a number of best practices you can adopt to help sustain your RO plant atpeak efficiency.

Granular Activated Carbon (GAC) can beinstalled in an automatic backwashing unit such as the FILTERMAT unit for theremoval of free chlorine and organic matter

Install a generously sized duplex meter pairof controlled release of water softeners, sized at <30 BVH, (bed volumes perhour flow to resin media volume ratio).

Install 5-micron absolute rated depth filtersfor particle and fouling index reduction.

Ensure you have adequately sized feed pumpsand pipework installation.

Install a CIP (clean in place) anddisinfection rig for periodic maintenance of the RO membranes.

 XLE thin film composite RO membranes willprovide high flow and low energy consumption

 A constant softened feed water of < 4ppmhardness will help prevent RO membrane scaling

Is Reverse Osmosis Right for you?

If youare unsure about the benefits of reverse osmosis for your application, our teammembers can help. They can not only recommend the right system for you, but canalso answer your questions about any type of water purification system andtechnology available.,Â