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How Does Reverse Osmosis Work?

Osmosis is the phenomenon of water flow through a semi-permeable membrane that blocks the transport of salts or other solutes through it. Osmosis is a fundamental effect in all-biological systems. Osmosis is applied to water purification and other chemical laboratory and industrial processes. When two water volumes are separated by a semi-permeable membrane, water will flow from the side of low solute concentration to the side of high solute concentration. The flow may be stopped or even reversed by applying external pressure on the side of higher concentration. This is called reverse osmosis. (R.O.) Reverse osmosis is only one stage of a typical R.O. system. Sediment and carbon filtration is normally included with an R.O. system, with each stage of filtration contributing to the purification process.

The first stage of filtration is the sediment filter, which reduces suspended particles such as dirt, dust, and rust.

The second stage of filtration is the carbon filter, or filters which reduce volatile organic chemicals, chlorine, and other taste and odor causing compounds.

The heart of Reverse Osmosis is the membrane. It is responsible for rejecting up to 98% of the total dissolved solids in the water. This is where the purification takes place.

What Is Meant By Total Dissolved Solids? In the natural cycle of water, water that began its life as rain and eventually found its way to your tap has come in contact with many sources of potential contaminant. The various minerals and salts that have been dissolved by the water during this cycle are called Total Dissolved Solids (TDS). What Type Of Mineral Contaminants Are Removed By R.O.? Reduction of mineral components that make up total dissolved solids will vary up to a maximum of 99.8% depending on water chemistry and pressure.

What is the Difference Between Faucet-Mount / Pitchers and Reverse Osmosis?
Faucet-Mount and Pitcher filtration systems on the market are able to reduce certain contaminates from your water based upon the use of granular activated carbon, or in some cases carbon blocks. Some units include additional filter media that will reduce some heavy metals as well. These type of devices are limited to the types of contaminates that they can effectively removed from your water based upon the type and amount of carbon contained with in the filter.

Contaminants Average Influent Concentration (mg/L) Average Effluent Concentration (mg/L) Average Percent Reduction  Maximum Effluent Concentration:
 0.28 0.0035 98.7 0.0052
 10.2 0.207 97.9 0.3
 0.036 0.0005 98.6 0.0007
Chromium (Hexavalent)
 0.15 0.013 91.3 0.03
Chromium (Trivalent)
 0.17 0.01 94.1 0.01
 3.1 0.03 99.0 0.04
 149357 #/ml 5 #/ml 99.99 17 #/ml
 10.2 0.26 97.5 0.83
 8.0 0.5 93.9 0.7
 0.15 0.002 98.6 0.003
Perchlorate 0.10 0.003 96.5 0.005
Radium 226/228
 25 pCi/l 5 pCi/l 80.0 5 pCi/l
Selenium 0.10 0.10 92 0.011
TDS 790 24 97 800

The Watts Premier Reverse Osmosis (RO) incorporates three different types of filtration technology in order to provide the best quality water to the user. The first stage is a sediment filter which removes larger particles and sediment from your water. The second and third stage with in our RO is our carbon block filter. Watts Premier uses only high quality independently certified carbon blocks. This additional certification on our carbon blocks ensures the consistency and integrity of the carbon block in each system we sell. These carbon blocks are able to reduce many contaminants with in your drinking water. The work horse of our system, the RO membrane, is next and is where the main filtration takes place to reduce any remaining contaminates or up to 97.9% of impurities in the water. The RO membrane is responsible for reducing many of the difficult water contaminants such as arsenic, chromium, radium and total dissolved solids. The fifth and final stage is a granular activated carbon filter which polishes your drinking water just prior to you drinking it. The combination of these technologies, mainly with the use of the RO membrane, is how the RO system can provide to you water that is bottled water quality.

Contaminate comparision chart for Reverse Osmosis to Faucet Mount/Pitchers.

Contaminates Reverse Osmosis Standard Filtration Products Faucet Mount and
Arsenic (Pentavalent)<=300 ppb Reduction*
Barium Reduction
Cadmium Reduction
Copper Reduction
Cyst Reduction
Chromium (Hexavalent) Reduction
Fluoride Reduction
Lead Reduction
Selenium Reduction
TDS Reduction
Chromium (Trivalent) Reduction
Turbidity Reduction
Chlorine (taste and odor only)

Results 15 Reductions out of 15 4 Reductions out of 15 4 Reductions out of 15

Does R.O. Remove Parasites Such As Bacteria, Cysts Or Cryptosporidium?
While a health claim can not be made because of intangibles such as regular maintenance, these items are too
large to pass through the TFM membrane. NSF's rating for reduction of Giardia Cysts and Cryptosporidium is 1
micron, and the TFM membrane filters down to 1/10,000th of a micron. That is 10,000 times smaller than these