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SW30HR-380 water desalt membrane

Navigating RO Performance: Identifying and Eliminating Common Pollutants in Reverse Osmosis Membranes

Discover the key pollutants impacting reverse osmosis (RO) membrane performance and explore effective cleaning methods to maintain optimal functionality. Tailored for reverse osmosis membrane elements with diameters ranging from 4 inches to 8.5 inches, this article provides insights into contamination prevention and advanced cleaning techniques.

Notes for RO Membrane Maintenance:

Note 1: Highlighting the critical importance of avoiding contact between free chlorine and composite membrane elements, this note emphasizes the irreversible damage potential. It advocates for rigorous sterilization processes and laboratory-tested confirmation, underlining the necessity of acid solutions for neutralization.

Note 2: Stressing the significance of consulting with the company’s field service personnel, this note recommends periodic membrane cleaning during the warranty period, ensuring professional oversight for optimal results.

Note 3: Advising against the use of cationic surfactants in cleaning solutions, this note forewarns about the risk of irreversible membrane contamination, emphasizing the importance of cautious cleaning practices.

Common Pollutants and Removal Techniques:

  1. Calcium Carbonate Scale:

    • Early Detection: Detect and address calcium carbonate scale precipitation promptly to prevent membrane surface damage.
    • Removal Technique: Lower pH to 3.0-5.0 for 1-2 hours. For prolonged scale, utilize RT-818A cleaning solution for circulation or overnight soaking.
    • Caution: Ensure the cleaning solution’s pH is above 2.0 and below 11.0. Consider ammonia for pH increase and sulfuric acid or hydrochloric acid for pH reduction.
  2. Calcium Sulfate Scale:

    • Optimal Removal: Implement RT-818B cleaning agent for effective calcium sulfate scale elimination.
  3. Metal Oxide Scale:

    • Utilizing Known Techniques: Employ methods similar to calcium carbonate scale removal to effectively eliminate deposited hydroxides such as ferric hydroxide.
  4. Silica Scale:

    • Specialized Removal: For non-symbiotic silica scales, employ company-recommended specialized cleaning methods.
  5. Organic Deposits:

    • Effective Cleaning: Utilize RT-818C cleaning agent for removing organic deposits like microbial slime or mildew.
    • Prevention: Circulate an approved sterilizing solution to prevent reproduction, especially during extended shutdowns.
  6. Cleaning Solution:

    • Recommended Agents: Utilize RT-818 series RO membrane system cleaning agents for optimal results.
    • Critical Analysis: Conduct chemical analysis of contaminants before cleaning. Record and compare results for future reference and method optimization.
    • Application Guidelines: RT-818A for inorganic contaminants, RT-818B for calcium sulfate and organic matter, and RT-818C for severe organic contamination.
    • Temperature and Duration: Conduct all cleanings at or below 40 degrees Celsius for a maximum of 60 minutes.

During the cleaning process, circulate the cleaning solution on the high-pressure side of the membrane at a low pressure and a large flow rate. Specialized cleaning devices are recommended while the membrane element remains installed in the pressure vessel.


Effectively managing common pollutants in reverse osmosis membranes is vital for ensuring sustained performance. By adhering to recommended cleaning techniques and preventive measures, industries can optimize RO systems, enhancing water purification efficiency.

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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