Through the years, reverse osmosis has been widely used worldwide for treatment of water. Not all forms of water present in the surroundings could be potable and used for natural and household purposes. Through this process, water is purified by filtering out contaminants. Through the use of a semi-permeable membrane, reverse osmosis works upon application of external force or pressure. It should reverse the natural process of osmosis and force out pure water from a solution containing many contaminants or solutes. Of course, the advantage is quite logical: safer and more purified water is produced.
There are several disadvantages of reverse osmosis. One of the many known downsides is its potential to become an ineffective and inefficient means of water purification. The semi-permeable membranes used for facilitating osmosis and reverse osmosis contain very small pores that are able to block small particles or molecules except pure water. This is the key to the usefulness of reverse osmosis. However, there are several known contaminants that are molecularly much smaller than water. They include dangerous chemicals like herbicides, chlorine, and pesticides.
There is a better method used instead of reverse osmosis for filtering out molecules that are smaller than water molecules. Carbon filtering is it. That is the reason why many water treatment facilities employ both reverse osmosis and carbon filtering techniques. This way, water could be made more purified and safe for drinking and other forms of consumption.
Another setback for the use of reverse osmosis is the unintentional but inevitable removal of healthy and naturally occurring minerals that are found in water. If the process could filter out contaminants and impurities, unfortunately, it could also do the same for important trace minerals found in water. This is because the semi-permeable membranes used are almost always impermeable to naturally occurring trace minerals in water.
Such minerals are identified as responsible for providing water better taste. They also facilitate a good function to the human system. Needless to say, if drinking water is deprived of such minerals, it could be totally unhealthy and less likely for drinking.
It is also a widely known fact that reverse osmosis puts more water to waste. In general, it would take about three gallons of water to be wasted for producing a single gallon of purified water. Water is wasted when the other membrane content is made non-useful and contaminated. There is no way but to throw away such water or take more time and effort to subject it to further reverse osmosis or other filtration process. Most water filterers opt to just throw it anyway. It is also certain that reverse osmosis is a very slow process. It could not be used in urgency as compared to other alterative water treatment processes.
What about costs, Of course reverse osmosis is more difficult to setup and facilitate. The facility is quite complicated and sophisticated. All around the world, many researchers and inventors have always been trying harder to be able to invent or devise ways to lower costs of using reverse osmosis. To this day, many companies are just drum-rolling; no definite or certain cheaper way or device of the process is actually launched, introduced, or sold in the market.
The world knows the potential of reverse osmosis, but more and more people hope it would not take long before its potential and usefulness is maximized.