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  Capsule Report, Reverse Osmosis Process (PDF) (13 pp, 276 KB) (EPA/625/R-96/009) September 1996

Reverse osmosis is a membrane separation process designed to treat wastewater that contains a variety of contaminants, including organic compounds. Recent advances in the application of this control technology feature higher feed-flow velocities, greater tolerance for dissolved solids and turbidity, and higher recovery rates of treated water. Recovered water (permeate) can be recycled or treated downstream, depending on plant needs.

Failure analysis has shown that:

  • To a high degree of probability, during startup, shutdown, and upsets, overpressure from plugging can release wastewater as spray or leakage from the process; plate-and-frame and tubular modules are not as susceptible to plugging as hollow-fiber and spiral-wound modules
  • To a moderate degree of probability, impairment can result from membrane fouling and scaling (an indication of this type of failure is a reduction in pressure across the membrane)

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See EPA's PDF page to learn more.

Office of Research & Development | National Risk Management Research Laboratory

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