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Frequently Asked Industrial Water Treatment Questions:
Q. What kind of maintenance is required for an industrial reverse osmosis system?
A. If the feedwater is properly treated upstream of the reverse osmosis system, maintenance is generally minimal. RO membranes are susceptible to destruction by chlorine so pretreatment generally includes either feeding a reducing agent like sodium bisulfite or use of activated carbon filters to achieve dechlorination (i.e. elimination of free chlorine). To prevent scaling, ;ion exchange softening may be required to reduce calcium and magnesium carbonates, or metering an antiscalent into the feedwater. Multi-media filtration may be required if the water contains significant silt. With pretreatment properly applied, reverse osmosis membranes may require cleaning semi -annually or annually and replaced each 3 – 7 years.
Q. What temperature should my water be when following through an industrial reverse osmosis system?
A. Since water density varies markedly with temperature, warm water (e.g. 77° Fahrenheit) will flow much faster through a membrane than water of 40° Fahrenheit (the flowrate at various temperatures is widely available from manufacturers and is referred to as "flux rate" of the membrane). Most manufacturers list their design specifications based on 77° F water. An RO must be sized based on flow demand and the coldest feedwater temperature. Larger RO machines often are equipped with a VFD-controlled pump so RO output can be maintained at the specified flowrate given a fairly wide band of feedwater temperature.
Q. What are the limitations of activated carbon filters?
A. Activated carbon filtration is effective in removing by adsorption contaminants that have relatively large molecules (most organic chemicals) and catalyzing the reduction of free chlorine. Activated carbon filtration does not remove microbes or reduce dissolved minerals such as sodium, nitrates, fluoride, and hardness.
Q. What is the ideal flow rate for a greensand filter?
A. Greensand filters are typically designed to flow at 3-5 gpm per square foot of filter surface area and need a minimum of 12 gpm per square foot for backwash.
Q. What is the difference between ion exchange and deionization?
A. Ion exchange and deionization are often used synonymously to refer to the same process. However deionization may be accomplished by technologies other than ion exchange (e.g. reverse osmosis). Ion exchange is a process used extensively in nuclear facilities, industrial processes and medical and pharmaceutical operations to control the purity and pH of water by removing undesirable ions and replacing them with acceptable ones.