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Do Reverse Osmosis Systems "Waste Water"?

There is a significant myth being promoted by many in Foodservice that RO systems waste water, via sending considerably more water to drain compared to what they produce. 

The fact is that properly designed and efficient reverse osmosis systems do not waste water but use it to create pure water.  Pure water is not produced without a cost, no matter what the technology.  For a properly designed and efficient RO system, this may be one-to-three gallons of water for every gallon of pure water produced.  This is a relatively low cost when compared to the alternatives.

Significant amounts of water, energy and acids are used to manufacture Weak Acid Cation (WAC) resins commonly used in cartridge form to reduce water hardness.  These resins are very expensive to produce and the resins are intended to be regenerated time and again to minimize their impact on the environment.  They were not intended to be for one-time throw away use.  Depending on water chemistry, this type of cartridge may have to be regenerated after only treating several hundred gallons of water.

Additionally, some of the latest entrants into the RO market have actually promoted small RO systems that have an exceptionally low amount of water going to the drain (referred to as reject). The cost associated with this is shorter membrane life.  RO membrane manufacturing requires water, chemicals and energy, and maximizing life of the membranes reduces the use of these resources.  RO membranes, in a properly designed RO system, are capable of very long life (10+ years) with correct pre-treatment, flux and recovery. However, market demands for lower cost systems and high recovery on smaller systems have shortened this to one to three years.

Properly designed and efficient reverse osmosis systems are the most efficient, cost-effective and environmentally responsible method for producing high quality ingredient water for the Foodservice industry.


OptiPure utilizes reverse osmosis, blending and proven methods to produce the most efficient and reliable RO systems with a low cost of ownership.  Our systems have been carefully designed based upon the factors stated above and the Foodservice application environments in mind.  Contact us to find out more.


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