Reverse Osmosis – Yay or Nay?

Disclaimer:  I am  NOT a scientist. I do as much research on any given topic I write about as time permits.  So I love it when people who read my newsletter and who have researched a particular subject care enough to share. My last newsletter referenced reverse osomis. Not a good choice according to the following readers and definitely calls for more research on my part.  Duly noted.  

HH writes:

“Good Morning:

I just read the newest news letter and was a little alarmed about something relating to water. I too detest the plastic water bottles and we have a water cooler at our office, but have done away with all water services, our water comes from the TAP and is chilled.

 I would like you to consider the following information from Wikipedia and other sources:

 Household reverse osmosis units use a lot of water because they have low back pressure. As a result, they recover only 5 to 15 percent of the water entering the system. The remainder is discharged as waste water. Because waste water carries with it the rejected contaminants, methods to recover this water are not practical for household systems. Wastewater is typically connected to the house drains and will add to the load on the household septic system. An RO unit delivering 5 gallons of treated water per day may discharge 40 to 90 gallons of wastewater per day to the septic system.[7]

Large-scale industrial/municipal systems have a production efficiency closer to 48%, because they can generate the high pressure needed for more efficient RO filtration.

Another downside to reverse osmosis as a method of purifying drinking water is the removal of healthy, naturally occurring minerals in water. The membrane of a reverse osmosis system is impermeable to natural trace minerals, which offer health advantages for the body. Water which has been stripped of these trace minerals does not offer these advantages.
So even large scale operations loose 52% of the water. What the heck is wrong with drinking TAP water????? Our water system in Tucson is a good one and we are not being polluted by it and, unless you have some very specific health problem, it is not a good idea to drink RO water, I am worried that the company you mentioned in your newsletter is just another one of those marketed gigs that make us think we need another “value added” item. Besides, WE LIVE IN A DESERT!!! Throwing away 52% of the water is an abomination! But how do I really feel about it????”

Subsequent emails contained the following:

“Here is information for you regarding RO and some resources:

http://www.ag.ndsu.edu/pubs/h2oqual/watsys/ae1047w.htm, info from Minnesota’s department of agriculture. A discussion of how for most places RO systems are not needed. Also, RO does NOT remove coliform bacteria……
http://www.tucsonaz.gov/mw/viewer.htm
Yes, our own Tucson Water’s quality report right on line for the viewing. We have very safe water.”

And one more:

“A visit to the company’s website you referenced in your newsletter does not even mention anything about water wastage……..There is also some thing called a zero waste RO system, but it is a little sketchy and puts the waste water into your hot water tank so you are washing with the contaminants…..does not sound so good……Oh, and in Tucson since you are charged by the amount of water you use, so if you use a lot, you are charged more per gallon than someone who uses less water. So an RO user can just watch their bill escalate!”

I am here to support the conservation and invite anyone who has other information to share please do it here.


8 thoughts on “Reverse Osmosis – Yay or Nay?”

  1. Deborah says:

    So what kind of water filter IS best?

  2. Vincent Pawlowski says:

    Watts makes a zero-loss RO filter, the ZRO-4.
    I have been using it for 4 years with no ill effects.
    We effectively absorb most of our daily minerals from eating healthy food.

  3. gina says:

    Deborah – I wish I had a research team to give you the best answer but I don’t. From what I have been able to find, both Britta & Pur water filters are consistently rated high by organizations like Consumer Reports. I would love to hear from other people what they have found.

    Vincent – I can’t find any information at all on the Watts filter in terms of if it uses exra water to process. Again -not a scientist – just a person committed to learning more about how we can all conserve on water AND keep healthy. Agree with you on getting our minerals from healthy food.

    Thanks to both of you for commenting.

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    1. Mrs. Green says:

      Do you have any idea how affirming it is to get a comment from someone on a blog that was posted a very long time ago? VERY! Thank you Hunter Cuthbertson for finding us and for caring enough to share some thoughts! Mrs. Green

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    1. Mrs. Green says:

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