There are many different types of water contaminants, and they can differ greatly both in their behavior and their size and shape. As a result, different methods of filtration are better at removing certain contaminants than others. Bacteria are a category of contaminants that many homeowners are concerned about, which is why we often hear the question, “Does a reverse osmosis filter remove bacteria?” Today we’re going answer that question by talking about how a reverse osmosis filter works and its effectiveness at removing bacteria from the water in your Pennsylvania or New Jersey home!
The reverse osmosis filtration process
In order to understand whether or not bacteria can be removed by reverse osmosis, you have to first understand how this method of water treatment works. A reverse osmosis filter contains a membrane that the water from your home is forced through. This membrane contains thousands of very tiny holes that are just large enough to allow water molecules through. Anything that’s bigger than a water molecule is trapped by the membrane because it is too big to fit through the holes.
What happens to bacteria when it encounters a reverse osmosis filter?
As you might be able to deduce from the explanation above, the effectiveness of a reverse osmosis filter for various contaminants depends on the size of those contaminants.
The smallest forms of bacteria are approximately 0.2 microns in size. That is very small, but it’s actually much larger than a water molecule. Water molecules are approximately .0001 microns in size, and the holes in reverse osmosis membranes are only a little larger than that.
So if there is bacteria in your tap water and your water is filtered by a reverse osmosis system, the bacteria will not make it past the filter because they will be too large to fit through the membrane’s pores. In other words, a reverse osmosis filter does remove bacteria from tap water!
Adding a UV light can help in extreme circumstances
Although reverse osmosis is very effective at removing bacteria from water, there are rare circumstances when bacteria contamination is particularly pervasive and some additional steps can be taken to keep your water fully-protected. In those circumstances, a UV light can be added after the point that water goes through the reverse osmosis filter, which will kill off any remaining remnants of bacteria that may have made it through.
If you have any questions about whether or not a reverse osmosis system removes bacteria, or if you’d like a water system serviced or installed in your home, contact EPA Water Consultants, your water softener and water filtration system dealer in Pennsylvania and New Jersey.
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