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A Guide on Water Purification Technologies - RO, UV, and UF

Oct 31, 2019

 

Water is one of the basic necessities for human survival, and enough attention needs to be paid toward ensuring its purity. Unsafe water can cause innumerable diseases, some of which can even lead to death and disability.

Hazards of Unclean Water

The high incidence of water-borne diseases in India reiterates the need for advanced water filtration technologies. Here are some of the diseases caused due to contaminated water:

  • Diarrhoea
  • Hepatitis A
  • Cholera
  • Typhoid

People have realized the significance of having clean drinking water and are making the choice to buy purifiers that employ sophisticated technologies like Reverse Osmosis (RO), Ultraviolet (UV) Filtration, and Ultrafiltration (UF).

Here are the main features of some of the popular water purification methods. 

  1. Reverse Osmosis (RO)

Reverse Osmosis uses a semi-permeable membrane to filter out contaminants from water. A high-pressure pump is used to force the water through the membrane while most of the salts, pyrogens, bacteria, viruses, protozoa, and harmful metals are left behind. Buy RO water purifiers if the total dissolved solids (TDS) level in your water is high because it can effectively remove about 90% of TDS.

The size of the RO membrane is 0.0001 Micron, which means that it doesn't allow most of the harmful minerals, pesticides, and herbicides through it. The water that doesn't pass through the membrane is called the reject stream, which can be routed to a drain or can be recycled to save water.

Pre-filtration is required for RO systems to help extend the life of the RO membrane. Post filtration methods can also be used to make sure the RO membrane is durable and more effective. Additional filters also help in avoiding frequent repairs and unnecessary maintenance costs.

  • Pros: One of the best purification methods for hard water.

  • Cons: Requires frequent maintenance.

2. Ultraviolet Purifiers

The ultraviolet method also called e-boiling, helps in getting rid of harmful bacteria and viruses from the water by using ultraviolet rays. Shortwave ultraviolet radiation generated from a mercury lamp attacks the DNA of the pathogens, thus preventing them from reproducing. UV method is one of the most efficient ways to disinfect water and is capable of destroying 99.9% of microorganisms which contaminate the water.

Since no additional chemicals are used, the taste and odour of the water are not affected in the UV filtration method. It is also a much simpler method and an energy efficient way to destroy bacteria and viruses because it consumes very less power. There is no wastage of water in the UV method, and hence, it is an environment-friendly option. Maintenance is also relatively simple as the UV bulb may be required to be replaced only once a year. UV purification method can need other filters to filter out the dead germs killed by the ultraviolet rays.

  • Pros: Uses less energy and easy maintenance. Doesn’t alter taste or odour.

  • Cons:  Doesn't eliminate heavy metals, chlorine and volatile organic compounds.

3. Ultrafiltration Method

The UF method also uses a semi-permeable membrane, but the pores are bigger when compared to the RO membrane. The size of the UF membrane is 0.01 micron. UF water purifier uses hydrostatic pressure that forces the water against the membrane, causing microorganisms like giardia and bacteria, particulate matter, and organic material that can react with disinfectants to produce unwanted by-products to stay behind.

The UF method also helps with the turbidity of water. The taste and odour of the water are also unaltered since no chemicals are involved in the purification process.

The UF filter is capable of filtering out suspended impurities and macromolecules that are bigger than the size of the membrane pores. Like the UV method, there is no wastage of water in UF filtration systems.

Although the UF method is effective in eliminating pathogens from contaminated water, it does not remove dissolved salts. Using UF methods, along with RO, can give you a more thorough purification.

  • Pros: Eco-friendly and filters out visible impurities. Can be used in areas where the TDS in water is not too high.

  • Cons: Doesn’t remove dissolved salts and hazardous metals.

Multi-step Purifiers for the Modern-day Needs

You might have to buy water purifiers that use multi-stage filtration technologies to achieve comprehensive purification. Using pre-filters and post-filters can also help reduce repairs and maintenance costs. The multi-step purification process can also help maintain the correct pH of water.

The quality of your tap water and your water usage habits are some of the factors that determine what purifier you should go for. Once you have bought the right purifier, regular care must be taken to replace the filters and components of the purifiers to maintain the quality of the filtered water.


 

 

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