Treated Water Beyond the Home… Commercial RO Techniques for your business
While many homeowners in Nebraska and Iowa consider water treatment for their own residences, a great number are unaware of the extended applications that go beyond the home and impact their everyday lives. Treated water is in fact an important element of a many businesses and manufacturing processes many take for granted.
What is Reverse Osmosis or R.O. Water?
Reverse osmosis (RO) is a water technology that uses a semipermeable membrane to eliminate larger particles from drinking water. An applied pressure is used to overcome osmotic pressure, that is driven by chemical potential, a thermodynamic parameter. Simply put, reverse osmosis is the top of the food chain in water purification for human consumption, which is common in domestic and commercial properties. The technology, first developed in 1949 at the University of California at Los Angeles investigated the desalination of seawater applying pressure through semi permeable membranes to subdue osmosis pressure and remove ions and molecules from the liquid. This process now used in desalination plants all over the world to selectively remove salt or any other effluent matter from the molecules in the water.
Why are Reverse Osmosis Techniques Used Commercially?
In addition to desalinating water, R.O. methods are a more economical means to concentrate food liquids. A great example is fruit juice. Instead of using a conventional form of heat treatment, R.O. can more efficiently concentrate the liquid, while avoiding the potential damage from heat treatment. Since many juices or food liquids contain vitamins, proteins or enzymes, which are destroyed by heat or pasteurization, the R.O process creates a similar effect without a loss of nutrients.
Another example is in the production of maple syrup where R.O. techniques permit excess water to be removed from the sap. This reduces the energy and high temperatures needed to convert the sap into grade A syrup you find on your supermarket shelves.
R.O. Applications Beyond the Home
There are a great many uses for R.O. treated water beyond the home. Most well known coffee chains use R.O water to improve the purity of their water and create a more favorable beverage. However, there are also a large number of businesses using R.O. to lessen their environmental footprint. Many car washes, for example, use R.O. techniques to reclaim their water for reuse. This saves a great deal on wastewater, which makes the business more economically efficient and “green.” These techniques are also employed in commercial hatcheries, greenhouses and chemical plants, where otherwise the wastewater would be lost.
R.O. water is also a fundamental component for industrial applications like chroming or electro plating. The removal of contaminants before the water is used in any process ensures that there are no spots or imperfections in the final finish. The treated water is also pure enough to use as battery water or for topping off radiators in vehicles, rather than purchasing distilled water.
So, while you may have considered an under the sink Reverse Osmosis system installation in your home, you may not be aware of the remarkable uses R.O. water offers outside of it. So, next time you enjoy your morning first cup of the day at your favorite coffee chain or are admiring the amazing chrome finish on a new car, consider the treated water that made it all possible.
About The Author, Terry Reeh, Partner EcoWater Systems of Nebraska:
With more than 25 years experience in the residential and commercial water treatment space , Terry is a WQA (Water Quality Association) certified water specialist, LEVEL 3, as well as a WQA certified sales representative. In addition to running the day-to-day operations of EcoWater Systems of Nebraska, one of the biggest water treatment and water delivery enterprises in the state, Terry currently sits on EcoWater Systems (a Berkshire Hathaway Company) national Peers committee, as a water treatment expert advising other water professionals with less experience on best trade and technology practices.