Desalination is the process of removing most NaCl and some other minerals and metals naturally dissolved in water.
Reverse Osmosis technology is generally used with seawater, brackish water in general, or even wastewater with high concentrations of minerals and heavy metals. Permeation can be used for human, animal, food, as well as industrial, or agricultural use.
The technology used is called desalter or Reverse Osmosis as mentioned above. It is also improperly called a water distiller, perhaps because in earlier times all desalinators were of the evaporative type and thus resembled desalination columns; in fact this type of separation is not, and never has been, considered a form of distillation.
Drinking water does not have to be free of salts: both for health reasons, and because the addition of certain salts is recommended (this is, however, a practice usually carried out downstream of the desalinator itself, to allow the correct salts to be added), and because a completely deionized water would be completely tasteless, not palatable. A small amount of residual salts is therefore left in the treated water, on the order of 25 mg/l.
Permeation desalination is achieved by separation on semi-permeable membranes. The characteristics of the water and rejection are similar to the previous type; however, total recovery of the aqueous part cannot be achieved because Reverse Osmosis membranes do not allow the treatment of solid phases, except by providing an evaporative section. A special case is desalination by electrodialysis.
Reverse Osmosis technology is used for a variety of treatment sizes, from small to large by orders of magnitude ranging from 1 to 10 000 m3/h and similar in quality to evaporative desalination.
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