While Reverse Osmosis (RO) is a separation technology using membrane as the separation medium, ( UltraViolet ) UV is a disinfection technology using UV as the disinfection medium. Both technologies have primarily different roles to play: RO is to remove dissolved impurities whereas UV is to kill microorganisms . It is important to note that there is no concept of a new vs old technology; instead RO and UV need to be applied in different water conditions.
Ground water (water from bore wells, tube wells) typically has high TDS (total dissolved solids) unlike surface waters (water from rivers, lakes, reservoirs, ponds), which have low TDS but may contain suspended and microbiological impurities. Ground water with high TDS can be effectively treated with an RO system while surface waters can use a well-designed 3 stage UV system for effective purification.
Quality of water depends on some basic things: TDS, Chemicals & Microbial presence
Total Dissolved Solids (TDS): TDS is composed of inorganic salts & small amounts of organic substances which are dissolved in water. For example, excess of calcium and magnesium salts in water make it hard.
Safe levels of TDS for human body is under 500 PPM(TDS can be checked with a simple TDS meter). If TDS is above 500 PPM, then there is a need to use RO technology to bring the levels down, to safer levels. High levels of TDS over prolonged periods (several years)may create health problems such as gall bladder and kidney stones. On the contrary, it’s important to know that drinking water devoid of any TDS and mineral content is also harmful to the body and creates health issues in the long run.
Chemicals: Various chemicals may be present in water. Chemicals like Chlorine are used for water disinfection. For water to be considered safe, levels of chemicals such as chlorine need to be within permissible levels. Research shows that Chorine by-products have been linked to cancer.
Microbial Presence: Microorganisms in water, including a large family of various bacteria and viruses, can cause serious problems like Diarrhea, Gastroenteritis, Dysentery, Hepatitis, which lead to dehydration and sometimes death. Removal of such micro-organisms is very important to make water safe for drinking. Ultraviolet (UV) technology can irradiate such lethal microorganisms.
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