Understanding the Importance of RO Membrane Cleaning in Water Treatment

Industrial reverse osmosis systems do a lot of the work when it comes to removing contaminants during water treatment. It’s important to monitor when your industrial RO system is in need of its own decontamination. The membrane of the reverse osmosis system can become soiled with suspended solids, microorganisms and mineral scale during its normal operation. If this issue is not taken care of in a timely manner it can cause a loss in water output and/or salt rejection in your system.

Why is it Important to Clean the Membrane of Your Reverse Osmosis System?

It’s important to know the specifics on when to clean your businesses RO membrane so that you can avoid long-lasting damage. One of the first signs of contamination is when the output of clean water from your filtration system drops from its initial flow rate by 10%. Other early signs include when the product water’s salt passage increases by over 5-10% or when the normalized pressure drop increases by 10-15%. If you come across one or more of these issues, or others, it is time to clean your RO membrane. Whether this is your first time cleaning the membrane of your industrial RO system or not, it’s crucial to have the proper cleaning products that are up to the task. The type of cleaner needed will always depend on the type of foulant found in the membrane. For most contaminations, both acid cleaner and alkaline cleaner will be needed, but it is recommended to start with alkaline cleaning prior to acid cleaning. However, if you are dealing with calcium carbonate scaling specifically acid cleaning alone will do the trick.

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ro membrane, cleaning ro membrane
ro membrane, reverse osmosis systems, industrial water treatment

RO Membrane Cleaning Procedure

The procedure taken to complete the cleaning process is as important as the cleaning itself. Follow these steps when you go to clean the membranes on your industrial reverse osmosis system

1. Cleaning Fluid Production

Cleaning fluids used in the process need to be of a certain pH and they each must be dissolved and mixed before being added to the RO membrane for cleaning.

2. Feed Water Removal

All of the feed water residing in the pressure vessels and elements needs to be removed with cleaning fluid.

3. Low-Flow Recirculation through the Pressure Vessels

This takes place when the feed water is forced out of the system and the cleaning fluid feeds into the drains.

4. Soaking Up Cleaning Fluid

In this step, the pump is shut off which allows the cleaning fluid to soak into the membranes. 

5. Pressure Vessel Drainage

This is when the cleaning fluid is pumped out of the system and the cleaning fluid can then be examined to determine the exact level of contamination. 

6. System Rinse

Use permeate or clean, good-quality water to rinse out the system.

7. Starting up the Newly Cleaned System

Start up the installation like normal and rinse again if cleaning fluid is still present in the permeate.

It's Time to Begin Water Treatment

Reverse Osmosis System Membrane Cleaning from Complete Water Solutions

Complete Water solutions has the professionals to help your company no matter the severity of the issue. Our team has years of experience in this industry and our goal is to ensure that your company has safe and clean water so that your business’ equipment can continue to run efficiently. If your company needs help with RO membrane cleaning be sure to get in touch with the experts at Complete Water Solutions today!

About The Author

Nathan Olszak
28 Year Of Water Treatment Equipment Experience. I have been blessed with the opportunity to learn from the ground up. Starting in the water treatment field as a service technician. Servicing all major brands of water treatment equipment. Give Us A Call (855) 787-4200 or Email info@complete-water.com

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See also  Before You Purchase an Industrial RO System: Feed Water Testing