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What does reverse osmosis remove from water?

Reverse osmosis systems are highly effective at removing a wide range of contaminants from water. They ensure safer, cleaner drinking water by forcing water through a semipermeable membrane, trapping contaminants on one side and allowing clean water to pass through. 

Here's a breakdown of what a reverse osmosis water filter in Australia typically filters out:

  • Total Dissolved Solids (TDS): This encompasses a wide range of minerals and salts like calcium, magnesium, and sodium. RO systems reduce TDS levels, which can affect the taste and hardness of water.
  • Fluoride: RO systems remove around 95% of fluoride, a common additive in Australian mains water. The remaining fluoride is comparable to fluoride levels naturally found in rivers and lakes.,  
  • Heavy Metals: Includes lead, mercury, cadmium, arsenic, and chromium. These metals can be harmful to health even in small quantities and are efficiently removed by reverse osmosis systems.
  • Viruses and Bacteria: RO membranes are fine enough to filter out microorganisms like cryptosporidium, giardia, norovirus, hepatitis A, and E. coli, providing an additional layer of safety against waterborne diseases. Additional filtration or disinfection is always recommended if there is known microbiological contamination.
  • Microplastics: These tiny plastic particles, often found in tap and bottled water, are filtered out due to the RO system's fine membrane.
  • Pesticides and Herbicides: Agricultural chemicals, which can seep into water sources, are significantly reduced.
  • Chemicals: RO effectively removes or reduces trace amounts of PFAS, VOCs and pharmaceuticals which can be found in mains water & bore water supplies. Chlorine is removed by the carbon pre filter found in most RO systems.
What are the benefits of reverse osmosis water?

A residential or commercial reverse osmosis system offers several significant advantages, making it a preferred choice for many households and businesses:

  • Improved Taste and Smell of Water: Reverse osmosis systems remove contaminants that can cause unpleasant odours and tastes This results in water that is fresher and more pleasant to drink.
  • Reduced Exposure to Harmful Contaminants: By filtering out substances like lead, mercury, and arsenic, RO water significantly lowers the risk of consuming these potentially harmful elements, which is particularly beneficial in areas where water quality may be compromised.
  • Healthier Drinking Water: The removal of bacteria, viruses and parasites through reverse osmosis systems provides an extra layer of protection against waterborne illnesses, ensuring the water is safe and healthy for consumption.
  • More Convenient than Buying Bottled Water: Having an RO system at home or in a business setting eliminates the need for regularly purchasing bottled water, saving time and effort.
  • Eco-Friendly Option: Using a reverse osmosis water filter reduces the reliance on plastic water bottles, which helps in cutting down plastic waste and carbon footprint associated with the production and transportation of bottled water.
Does reverse osmosis remove fluoride?
Yes, reverse osmosis systems are capable of removing around 95% of fluoride from tap water. The semi-permeable membrane in a reverse osmosis system is fine enough to filter out fluoride ions along with other contaminants. Water authorities in Australia usually fluoride to our mains water at a rate of 0.6 to 1.1 milligrams per litre of mains water, so after mains water is purified through an RO system, the remaining ~5% of the fluoride left in the water is comparable to the amount of fluoride naturally found in streams, rivers and lakes. This makes RO systems an effective solution for those looking to reduce their fluoride intake from drinking water.
Do reverse osmosis systems waste water?
Yes, for every litre of pure water that a standard RO system produces, 3-5 litres of waste water is sent to the drain. The reverse osmosis system uses this water to flush away the contaminants from the membrane and this water is then discharged as waste. While the water used is significant, compared with other purification technologies available, reverse osmosis remains one of the most efficient ways to create pure water. In practice, if a household uses 10 litres of pure water for drinking per day, the waste water created is comparable to a 5 minute shower. This waste water is essentially “cleaning” the contaminants from your pure water. Advanced RO systems achieve greater efficiency by using pumps to achieve optimal feed water pressure for water production, or by using additional RO membranes to create pure water from the concentrated waste water flow. These systems are commonly used where a high volume of water is required such as in hospitals, beverage production and pharmaceutical applications.