AS REVERSE OSMOSIS (RO) plant proliferated over the year, so did the challenges in operation and maintenance of RO membranes used to process waters of hugely variable qualities. Complex fouling mechanisms need to be controlled, and failing that, adequate cleaning methods developed so that plant downtimes minimized and useful life of membranes preserved. Chemical treatments need to be conducted in such a way as to be compatible with specific sensitivities of various types of semi — permeable membranes.
Focus on customer needs and partnership with design and consulting engineers, system manufactures and plant operating personnels, brought about outstanding results. It is also widely recognized that the sensitive kinetic fouling conditions in RO system are sufficiently different from the steady state conditions in other water treatment systems such as cooling towers and boilers that RO chemistry is a speciality by itself, diagnostic skills, chemical selections and applications know how have become both a science and an art, and as such, the rate of growth of the RO chemistry field is restrained, and the practitioners that much more valuable.
Experience has shown that turn — key RO plant’s chemical, process and maintenance adjustments do not exist. The equipment is built to process water if varying quality, and should be treated as a part of a chemical process. Even little changes in the quality of feed water and pretreatment chemicals used can have noticeable impacts on membrane performance.