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Effective Methods and Solutions for Cleaning Reverse Osmosis Membrane (Polyamide Membrane)


Reverse osmosis (RO) technology is a powerful water treatment method widely utilized across various industries. However, users often encounter operational challenges that can impact the efficiency and effectiveness of their RO systems. In this article, we will explore common issues faced in the operation of reverse osmosis systems, especially when surface water is the source. We will also provide insights into the practical solutions and strategies to optimize the performance of RO systems for better water treatment results.

Why Clean Reverse Osmosis Membranes?

To understand the importance of cleaning reverse osmosis membranes, it’s essential to grasp the fundamental principles of RO technology. RO uses a semi-permeable membrane that allows water molecules to pass through while blocking salts and impurities. The process relies on the application of pressure to overcome osmotic pressure, effectively purifying water. As an advanced water treatment method, RO has a significant impact on various industries. However, operational issues can hinder its effectiveness, which is why it’s crucial to address and resolve them.

Common Problems in RO System Operation:

Pretreatment and Dosing Challenges:

  • High Inlet SDI Levels: Excessive suspended solids can lead to reduced RO efficiency.
  • Low Organic Matter Removal: Effective removal of organic matter is crucial for water purity.
  • Sand Filter Design Issues: Proper filter design and maintenance are essential.
  • Carbon Powder in Activated Carbon Filters: Address issues with activated carbon filters.
  • Backwash System Design: Ensure the efficiency of the backwash system.
  • Short Safety Filter Element Life: Extend the lifespan of safety filter elements.
  • Proper Scale Inhibitor Selection: Choose the right scale inhibitor for your system.
  • Rapid Reduction in RO Water Production: Maintain consistent production rates.

Pretreatment Feed Problems:

  • Flocculant and Coagulant Dosage: Adjust flocculant and coagulant dosages based on water characteristics.
  • Fungicide Dosage: Use appropriate oxidizing or non-oxidizing fungicides.
  • Reducing Agent Dosage: Optimize reducing agent dosage for thorough reduction without bacterial contamination.
  • RO SDI Overflow: Correct any process selection errors made during engineering design.
  • Discomfort in Pretreatment Dose: Avoid excessive flocculant dosing for water with a high pH.
  • Poor Filtering Effect: Address filter material, filling, and backwash control issues.
  • Low Organic Removal Rate: Enhance pretreatment processes and explore alternatives for COD reduction.


Operational challenges in reverse osmosis systems are common, especially when surface water is the source. To address these issues, consider the following:


  • Conduct thorough research on raw water conditions and select an appropriate treatment process.
  • Pay attention to filter specifications, equipment parameters, and system control.
  • Calculate pretreatment device parameters carefully.

Equipment Manufacturing, Installation, and Commissioning:

  • Monitor quality and materials during equipment manufacturing.
  • Ensure precise instrument installation and materials.
  • Test additives and consumables during commissioning.

Equipment Operation:

  • Follow operating procedures closely.
  • Regularly adjust operating parameters and doses based on water quality analysis.
  • Standardize reverse osmosis data to track system performance.

In conclusion, each reverse osmosis system may have unique challenges due to differences in water sources. Therefore, it’s essential to analyze and adapt to the specific conditions of your system, especially in terms of membrane fouling and cleaning. By following best practices, you can maximize the efficiency and longevity of your RO system.

Xi’an CHIWATEC Water Treatment Technology provide the RO membrane to clients both inland and oversea with more than 10years experience. We manufacture our own brand Daltonen RO membrane and we are also the official distributor of Dupont, Toray, CSM, Nitto, LG and Vontron RO membrane. Whatever product you need, we cold meet your requirement.

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