Reverse Osmosis Pharmaceutical Units
- Reverse Osmosis (RO) water treatment: RO water treatment has become the standard at many pharmaceutical water treatment plants. RO technology can be a costeffective replacement for dual cation and anion IX units. RO systems reduce the need to use costly chemicals, especially those that are caustic, and they curtail the ever-increasing cost of regeneration waste disposal. The payback that results from using an RO system can be achieved in less than two years in some situations. An RO membrane system can remove as much as 98-99% or more of all dissolved contaminants and can remove essentially all suspended (particulate) contaminants. However, RO units require pretreatment to prevent scaling, fouling with living and nonliving particulate materials, and chemical attack, commonly by oxidizing agents.
- Softening: A softener is a type of IX technology that controls scaling in downstream equipment. A softener controls scaling by removing hard scale-forming cations such as calcium and magnesium and exchanging (i.e., replacing) these ions for nonscale- forming sodium ions. An older term, sodium zeolite softening, frequently is used to describe water softening.
- Cartridge filtration: Cartridge filtration or other prefiltration technology is used ahead of RO units to protect against fouling from suspended particles in the feed water. RO membrane systems may become fouled if sufficient suspended solids (particulate) removal is not accomplished. Typically, 1-5-micron nominally rated filter cartridges are used.
- Mixed-bed IX units usually are positioned after an RO subsystem. The effluent from a mixed-bed IX unit meets USP conductivity limits for PW and WFI.
- UV irradiation may be used for bacterial control.
- Electrodeionization (EDI): EDI units in many cases can cost-effectively replace mixed-bed IX units. The resin beads in EDI units do not require chemical regeneration by acid and caustic. EDI units are continuously regenerated electrically.