Reverse osmosis is an effective method of removing contaminants and minerals from water. Using a semi-permeable membrane filter (Thin Film Composite or TFC), very pure water is produced. RO systems utilize a series of inexpensive filters (sediment, granulated or block carbon), the TFC membrane, and a bulky pressurized rubber or flexible plastic lined metal storage tank. Since chlorine can damage the TFC membrane, all RO systems should have effective carbon prefilters, and most use a carbon post filter to improve the taste.
RO systems are not designed to filter microbiologically unsafe water and do not remove high levels of arsenic and manganese. Manganese has recently been linked to a higher incidence of Parkinson’s disease. (Activated alumina filtration removes fluoride and arsenic.)
RO systems are far from being environmentally friendly. When new, approximately 1 gallon of water is wasted for every gallon produced. Over time, the RO membrane loses efficiency, with gradually higher amounts of wasted water that can result in 10 gallons or more of wasted water for each gallon stored in the holding tank. If an RO system is not cleaned and sanitized regularly, there is the potential for bacterial, fungal and mold growth in the holding tank, on the membrane, and on the tank lining. In addition, where bacteria is present, there is the potential for viral contamination. The pressurized holding tanks that store water produced by RO systems are limited in size and capacity, fill slowly and present a problem if you need more than three or four gallons of water per day.
In a study of 600 families performed at the University of Quebec, 300 families consumed normal tap water and 300 families drank water purified by RO. There was a significantly higher incidence of gastroenteritis among families with RO systems. The level of bacteria in the RO systems increased to 100,000 per milliliter and higher. People who drank RO water averaged 10 times the incidence of illness of those drinking unfiltered tap water.
Summary: RO and Steam Distilled Water
With the risk of bacterial, fungal and viral contamination, the negative environmental impact due to large volumes of waste water in the RO system, the acidic qualities of both RO and distillation, the electrical costs to produce steam distilled water, the potential for nickel, Bisphenol-A, phthalate or other contamination, and the proven negative impact on health that results from drinking demineralized water, I do not recommend RO or steam distillation.
Comparison: Using Opus Healthy Water Systems vs. Reverse Osmosis
- Provide continuous on-demand water, with no pressurized storage tank needed. You can fill multiple 5 gallon bottles without waiting up to 24 hours for a 2.5 gallon pressurized RO holding tank to fill up.
- Healthful minerals, including magnesium and calcium remain in solution. Minerals also improve the taste of drinking water.
- Easy to install and maintain.
- No water waste. RO systems can waste up to 19 times the water they produce.
- No connection to the drain required for waste water.
- No annoying “dripping” noise that can sometimes be heard due to the continuous dripping of waste water from RO systems.
- OPUS water purification systems feature multiple filtration media, providing redundant filtration, with dual carbon, activated alumina and KDF media filtration to ensure state of the art filtration of fluoride, chlorine, heavy metals, MTBE, VOCs, and other contaminants, and microfiltration to 0.5 micron.
- No danger of fouling the RO membrane. Suspended particles, minerals and microorganisms can foul the RO membrane resulting in decreased water production, poor contaminant rejection, ineffective purification and higher levels of waste water.
- No danger of bacterial, fungal, mold, or viral water contamination.
- No danger of nickel, phthalates or bisphenols, as no storage tank is required.
- No increase in acidity. OPUS systems do not increase the acidity of water.
- With the Freedom and Advantage models, alkalinity is maintained or unchanged, due to retention of dissolved minerals.
- With the AlkaPlus models, alkalinity is increased through the addition of magnesium, calcium and potassium ions, negative hydrogen and oxygen ions, and a decreased oxidation reduction potential, converting purified water into a powerful free radical scavenging antioxidant, alkaline, oxygenated water.