Can we Recycle Wastewater from RO system?

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Old 06-03-05, 01:06 PM
dljohannsen
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Question Can we Recycle Wastewater from RO system?

My FIL installed an RO filter as a gift when our first son was born in Feb. We love the system, but we are stunned (dismayed) at the increase in our wastewater bill.

Is it possible for us to re-route the wastewater so that we can recycle it for use on our lawn? The sink it's installed under is on an exterior wall, and there is already a garden faucet on the outside wall.

I'd appreciate any advice, books, links to articles, etc.
 
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Old 06-04-05, 10:21 PM
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Wastewater is a byproduct of RO systems. The systems use water to create your good water, which is why the system is routed into the drain under your sink. Your question, I have to admit, is one I've never gotten before.

The quality water produced by the reverse osmosis membrane comes as a trickle, which is why you have a small pressure tank under your sink. Now the waste water used to produce this good water goes down the drain, and the ratio I can't remember offhand. I guess you COULD capture this water for irrigation purposes, but how to go about it..? You would have to have a holding tank of some sort, and a way to transfer it to your lawn or wherever. As I said, I've never even thought about that aspect before, but in this business, if you don't learn something new every day, you're not paying attention!
 
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Old 06-05-05, 10:31 PM
dljohannsen
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Wastewater ratio

The plumber that did the installation said that the ratio was about 8:1. After seeing the increase in our wastewater bill, I believe him. The book that came with the filter does not address the issue of wastewater.

It's a steep enough difference in cost that we may decide to disconnect the RO until we feel flush enough to turn it back on.
 
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Old 06-06-05, 11:29 PM
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Waste water bill??? Never heard of that... We pay sewer here, and it's a fixed fee..

I know the water bill has dropp when i took mine out.. I saw no point of RO here.. our water is good, and I just use the regular water filter on the facuet..
 
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Old 06-09-05, 01:28 AM
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Many communities charge sewer or wastewater fees based on the water you use, whether it is well water or community water. My apartment complex is within city limits but has well water. We have a pumping station to transfer our wastewater to the city sewage. We are charged based on the water volume used, so many $$ per cubic ft of water usage. That's why I charge tenants a monthly "water" fee even though we have a well. It is possible that dljohannsen has a charge specific to wastewater. I wouldn't be surprised. Dlj, have you had any luck in finding a solution?
Wally
 
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Old 06-09-05, 06:13 AM
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the amount of discharge is based on the TDS count in your water......the higher the TDS, the more "waste"..........if you can get the drain line to an exterior wall, pump it outside......whatever you do don't restrict it.......the waste water is not "bad", it's just high TDS....you haven't added anything to the water so it won't hurt a thing
 
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Old 06-21-05, 11:33 AM
dljohannsen
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That's exactly what we want to do.

The RO filter is on the inside of an exterior wall. At this point we'd just like to route the water outside and let it run out onto our lawn. We think a small pond would be nice, but it's so much work to do and neither of us have the time for it right now.

$40 increase in our water/wastewater bill. YIKES!
 
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Old 06-21-05, 02:58 PM
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RO Run-off

dljohannsen, is your Waste-water piped into the sinks trap?
If so remove the hose, cap the hole, and then couple additional hosing to the out-side.

HTH...Joe
 
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Old 08-04-05, 11:21 AM
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I bought one of those air conditioning pumps that pumps for about 40 bucks at Home Depot and put the RO drain hose in to that. Once the little float hits a certain point I have it pump the water to a rain barrel that is outside of my kitchen window. The rain barrel (barrel that collects rain water from the gutters) has a faucet on the bottom that I can put a hose on to and when I open the faucet I can use the water to water plants, etc. Sometimes I also put one of those black bleeder hoses and keep the faucet open and run the hose around plants, trees, or whatever and it just seeps out. It works pretty good but there's practically no room left under the sink between the 5 filters, 2 gallon RO tank, and the pump.
 
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Old 04-27-08, 06:00 PM
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Thumbs up what to do with wastewater

I have a salt water aquarium and just got an RO/DI filter instead of buying the RO water for $.70 a gallon. I do not have it connected into my house pluming. I was astounded by the wastewater aspect of the RO process. It was pretty simple to figure out what I wanted to do with it. I set the filter system in the utility room next to the washing machine. I went to the hardware store and got a compression fitting that connected my 1/4 tubing to a water hose connector and screwed it onto my washing machine facet with a Y splitter. I now run the good water into my 5 gallon Culligan water jugs and the bad water into the washer. I get 10 gallons or so of good water for each load of cloths. So far my husbands work cloths haven't complained about the wastewater. It takes a few hours for the washer to fill up but if I need to do a load in a hurry, I just turn the washer on and it fills up normally. Each weekend I can make 20 gallons of pure water for my fish with two loads of laundry and all is good in the world.
 
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Old 04-29-08, 01:48 PM
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Before you spend time re-routing the drain, you should know that the wastewater bill is most likely determined by your water bill. (In most places, the bills are together when sent out and the sewage rate is much higher than the clean water rate). The way the town determines how much wastewater you are creating is by metering how much water you are using.

Now, you would have to be drinking tons of water to raise your water / sewage bill significantly, even with an inefficient 8:1 ratio (I think if you checked it out it would be more like 4:1). Here are all the other things I would add in to the water use formula. New baby=tons more laundry, more toilet flushing, more cooking, more cleaning, and more relatives visiting, maybe even Grandma staying over. Also, I noticed that having a maid will double the water usage in a house since many won't hesitate to run a laundry load for one pair of underwear; did you get a maid to help out? One other thing - was your wife working before the baby was born - if so, she was using the bathroom at work all day before, and now she is home (maybe along with you if you took time off too).
 
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Old 04-30-08, 09:21 PM
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8:1

Originally Posted by reubanks View Post
I bought one of those air conditioning pumps that pumps for about 40 bucks at Home Depot and put the RO drain hose in to that. Once the little float hits a certain point I have it pump the water to a rain barrel that is outside of my kitchen window. The rain barrel (barrel that collects rain water from the gutters) has a faucet on the bottom that I can put a hose on to and when I open the faucet I can use the water to water plants, etc. Sometimes I also put one of those black bleeder hoses and keep the faucet open and run the hose around plants, trees, or whatever and it just seeps out. It works pretty good but there's practically no room left under the sink between the 5 filters, 2 gallon RO tank, and the pump.
That is a great idea reubanks...you could spend a whole weekend setting it up.. but still very resourceful
.

sean
 
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Old 09-14-11, 09:43 AM
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RO waste water recycling

This is a problem that I need to sort out myself. I would appreciate it very much if any method is shared on how to recycle RO waste into potable water fit for human consumption in order to save on water bills. Thanks!
 
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Old 09-14-11, 04:35 PM
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If the water that enters your RO is fit for human consumption, then the 'waste water' from the discharge is also safe to drink. But then, one would have to ask, what's the point of running the RO in the first place?

If the RO is being used to remove things like water borne cysts and the like, or some heavy metals or salt, then the water was not good to start with and the waste water should not be consumed.

I personally would not rely on RO as my sole line of defense in turning bad water into good water. If I knew that there were potential pathogens going INTO the RO, I would take further steps to rid the water of those BEFORE the water went to the RO.

All the RO will do is microscopically 'filter' your water. It will remove any impurities that are larger than the membrane pores and this includes most of the bacteria, cysts, a large number of the heavy metals, salt, and a number of other things.

With all this said, let me ask this: WHY are you running the RO? What is the goal?
 
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Old 02-01-12, 05:09 PM
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Can we Recycle Wastewater from RO system?

One of the purposes for installing a Reverse Osmosis system is to reduce the fluoride put into the drinking water by a federal government mandate. Fluoride is a poison. when used topically by dentists, it is claimed to reduce cavities. But, there is no proof that ingesting fluoride at 1 gallon per day per person over one's lifetime is not harmful when it is not only ingested but also absorbed through one's skin, which in itself can alter the thyroid level, reduce a child's learning potential, increase the risk of hip fractures, bone cancers and increase symptoms of arthritis. While mass medication is not the answer, getting the fluoride out of the community water supply needs another act of Congress. Therefore, many people are choosing to take personal responsibility and are installing a Reverse Osmosis system to reduce their family's exposure to fluoride.
Dljohannsen and I are looking for ways to recycle the 12 gallons of waste water created when one gallon of water is purified to reduce heavy metals like fluoride in drinking water with the Reverse Osmosis Process.

Some water filter companies like Watts Premier and Multi-Pure have a system where the waste water goes into the water heater. But, the problem with that is that then adults and infants (as well as pets) would be bathing in the waste water. The largest organ in the body is our skin and arsenic, as well as fluoride and mercury can all be absorbed through the skin, so one really does not want to bathe in concentrated waste water.

The ideal situation would be a whole house filter, but that would create even more waste water. My daughter's family and infant son live in Austin, Texas where the area is in a severe drought and the price of water is very high. We are looking for a way of safely recycling the waste water and sending it to water non-edible vegetation through a soaker hose, or otherwise use the water where it would not come in contact with the skin of people, wildlife, pets, and edible produce.
 

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Old 02-13-13, 06:19 PM
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Folks - the waste water is really hardly worse than the water coming into the house...

Probably not harmful to you - you might not want to drink it untreated but bathing in it is probably OK.. since you presumably are bathing in something thats only slightly less concentrated right now...? unless you have a really big RO system!.

Anyway I did see an interesting proposal to address this issue (I don't think anyone actually built one though). The idea was to create a holding tank for the waste RO water (likely an open gravity tank) and create a diverter system so you can use this water to refill the toilet tanks whenever you have enough available - else they defaults back to filling from the main supply, and any excess waste water you generate over what can be stored is just sent to the drain...

Its a little challenging to lay out & address the water switch-over but I think its a good idea for an urban arrangement - it displaces clean water use and the scaling seems about right, I think you'd generally use up all the waste water you made since compared to what you drink you flush away a very significant ratio more.

I'm interested in this concept - but my RO system is mounted in an island on a concrete slab. Otherwise I think the key would be the simple changeover mechanism that could be mounted at/in the toilet tank and fed with the grey water supply

Alan
 
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Old 03-12-13, 04:42 PM
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old thread but...

I know this is an old thread, but here goes...

Thinking about installing an RO filter in the house for drinking, cooking, coffee, etc. Not for laundry, dishwasher or any of that.

Can the waste water be put back into the system like the attached graphic in order to recover the waste? I know it will put it back into the system, but am hoping that we will use more regular water (toilet, bath, shower, laundry, dishwasher, sinks, etc) than RO water and will recover the water more efficiently. It would also be diluted with the incoming water to the large storage tank. Water is quite expensive here. Any thoughts?
 
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Old 06-20-13, 09:55 AM
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Reverse Osmosis Waste Water Solution Needed

I just installed an RO system and my reason for needing to stop the waste water from going down the drain is, I have a septic tank, not a sewer, and I do not want to fill the septic tank up with waste water.

I could also use the water for some trees out front, as we live in the desert and it's stupid to let useful water go to waste.

So, should I just unplug the black line of the RO unit that was installed into the "drain stop" part, and re-direct that black line to go outside to my trees?

If so, what about in the winter, when water freezes, should I make any changes to this when it gets cold out?

Thanks
 
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Old 06-20-13, 10:35 AM
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Using you RO waste for landscape watering is perfect. I ran my RO waste line downhill and about 4' from the RO unit I transition to 1/2" line to insure there is no back pressure for the long run out to my collection pond.

Yes, you do need to protect the line from freezing if you are routing it outside. How you to protect it will depend on how you run the line. Mine exits the house underground.
 
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Old 07-03-13, 10:56 PM
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Diverted Wastewater to outside trees...But One More Question

ok, so today I ran the waste water outside to a few little trees in the yard, but am wondering, what is the best way to prevent bugs from entering the end of the hose outside? I don't want them crawling up the end of the waste water hose and going back into the system.

Hope this question doesn't sound too stupid.
 
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Old 07-04-13, 04:54 AM
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Diverted Wastewater to outside trees...But One More Question
ok, so today I ran the waste water outside to a few little trees in the yard, but am wondering, what is the best way to prevent bugs from entering the end of the hose outside? I don't want them crawling up the end of the waste water hose and going back into the system.

Hope this question doesn't sound too stupid.
Could put in a check valve along the line and a screen over the end.
I'm assuming the hose is the small ~1/4"-1/2" hose from the RO unit?
 
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Old 07-04-13, 03:51 PM
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Air seems to be an issue with my RO system when diverting waste water outside

I installed an RO system and diverted the waste water to outside. Now, my pipes seem to make noise like their is too much air inside the water pipe under my sink.
Before, when the waste water hose was hooked up to the drain stop, there was no air, now with the waste water going outside, there is nothing to seal up the end of the drain hose outside, (except for the strain filter I have on it) as it has to remain open enough to let the water drain out.

I'm wondering if this air is making the noise under my sink?
 

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Old 11-14-13, 03:35 PM
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Can waste water be put back into the home water supply?

islandflyer,

Did you get your answer on plumbing the waste water back into the reserve tank that feeds the whole house?

March 12, 2013 original post with excellent diagram.

Does anyone know?
 
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Old 11-14-13, 05:09 PM
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You can not by code or should want to use the RO wastewater anywhere in the house.
The problem with that water is that it concentrates the impurities that are removed from your water supply.
Dumping it into a tank for use outdoors on a garden or lawn is the best use for it.
 
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Old 11-14-13, 07:30 PM
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Thanks GregH.

I was thinking about the math.

My wife and I currently use about 6-8 gallons of drinking / cooking water a week.

For the sake of argument let's round up to 2 gallons a day which at a ratio of 3:1 (I think I read that somewhere) would create 4 gallons of waste water a day or 28 a week to create 14 gallons of drinking water.

Now between showers, toilets, laundry and dishwasher, I've calculated that we use about 550 gal. on the low side.

So putting the waste water back into the 400 gallon water tank over the course of a week would only be increasing the concentration of undesirables by (550+28+14) / (550+28) = 1.024 = 2.4%

Since the entire holding tank is effectively cycled every week, that small increase shouldn't compound. It should just raise the contaminates concentration that goes into the shower, laundry, dishwasher and washing machine by 2.4%.

I'm probably totally missing something but I wanted to throw it out there as a thought because water is very expensive where I am and I have no garden or outdoor considerations that could use the waste water.

Thank you kindly again.
 
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Old 11-15-13, 05:27 AM
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Well, the whole idea behind RO water is that there needs to be a reason to have it in the first place.
I would have to assume that your water is bad enough to justify how very wasteful it is.

Your question seems to be asking not technically how to use the concentrate but whether or not you should.
My answer along with others in this fairly lengthy thread is to not use the waste-water indoors as no matter how much you dilute it it is still non-potable water which laundry and especially bathing still requires.

There are two main reasons for using RO water and those are either that you have legitimate and measurable contaminants that need to be removed or it is for cosmetic reasons.
If you have a legitimate reason for having RO in that your raw water is not fit for consumption then there is no discussion that reusing the waste-water is a not recommended.
If you have this system installed on a public water system that is deemed to be safe to drink and you are concerned about the cost of waste-water then maybe RO is not right for your circumstance.
If your water is safe to drink then maybe a carbon filter on your drinking water may be more appropriate.
In fact, your RO system should have a carbon filter as it's last stage and this is what gives the RO water its clean taste.
Another option is to use a ceramic filter and is what I chose for my otherwise clean well water.
It removes a wide range of contaminants, has no waste-water and is cleanable.
If you add a 1 gallon pneumatic tank and a carbon filter IMO it will be superior to TO for relatively clean municipal water and eliminate this exercise to mitigate the waste-fullness of RO.
 
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Old 11-15-13, 05:32 PM
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Thanks GregH,

I see what you're saying. The reason I'm even thinking about all of this stuff is that I'm looking to buy a property in the Bahamas and the water is quite brackish (or hard... or both). Water and sewage department says that it's potable but infrastructure here seem to be questionable at points so I'm not sure how much the quality degrades once it reaches point of use.

There's a guy a few doors down who has the whole deal. Reserve tank, pressure tank, pump, water softening system for the entire home and RO for the fridge dispenser and ice maker.

Compared to non-treated water, his softened shower water and drinking water are a dream. It all costs a pretty penny though. The reserve, pressure and pump are a must because water is often off for hours if not days at a time. I'm still debating whether the softener (and the ongoing salt cost) for the entire home is worth it.

The most important question is what kind of filter for the drinking water. I recently saw a comparison of Watts systems on Amazon and although it looks like the RO does the most, there are some things that the other filters do that the RO doesn't.

Your information has already contributed an incredible amount to the way I should be thinking about thing, but I welcome further recommendations as well.

Thanks again and in advance.

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Old 11-16-13, 10:58 AM
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My grandparents lived in a very small town in Texas that had a sewage tank. Unfortunately that sewage tank was not able to handle all the water.

They did live in a mobile home (his construction job moved him all over Texas). I remember though when I moved in with them for a couple of months before I joined the Air Force, he was working on the plumbing - where the water from the toilets went into the sewage tank but water from the laundry, kitchen sink (and maybe bathroom sink) went into the garden. We never got sick or anything and the garden was great. It saved on the water bill - since the garden did not need to hardly be watered.
 
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Old 11-16-13, 01:09 PM
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I installed an RO years ago that had a pump on the drain side of the RO. This pump was used to force water back into the main line before the softener. I just can not remember how the set up was and what turned on or off the pump.
 
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Old 08-03-15, 09:48 PM
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What to use the RO waste water for...

If you can't use the RO drain water outside the house in the yard then I think
the logical usage (and possibly for a WS drain too) in the house is to pump it up to a gravity feed tank that supplies the toilets and use it for flushing. You'd need dedicated new plumbing to the toilets and a decent sized tank but you could arrange to have dual float valves for filling so the tank can fill to a high level with RO & WS water but so it will only partly fill with main supply water when it gets down to almost empty. You'd need a drain line to outside or to a house drain for when you generate too much wastewater but otherwise you'd use up all your waste water and still have supply water into the tank when you run short - pretty simple system.

Alan
 
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Old 08-05-15, 11:24 AM
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This idea would only seem logical if you went beyond being practical and took this idea up as a hobby.
If you use a conventional fill valve on the toilet you will then need a pump on the storage tank to supply pressure to the toilet.

Rant warning!
The whole idea of residential RO is mostly based on the ungrounded fear of municipal water systems and in any area where there are water shortages are irresponsible to operate.
Ceramic and carbon filtration works and does not waste water.
 
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Old 07-02-17, 10:16 PM
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Beccadog,

All I can say is wow, I specifically created an account to tack a disclaimer onto your old post from 5 years ago because it made me that angry.

Firstly, yes flouride is mandated by the government, yes it can be poisonous at high levels, so can water technically if you want to go that route. The leathal dose of flouride is 5-10 grams for an average human adult, the government sets the maximum recommended flouride level at 1.2 milligrams/liter. Using these numbers (that took 3 seconds to google) if you wanted to kill yourself with government recommended water you'd have to drink 4166 or about 1000 us gallons of water. This is an individual dose not over time. If flouride was a heavy metal like you claimed maybe this could become a problem in your lifetime but it's not a heavy metal any more than oxygen (right next to it on the periodic table) is its a halogen and generally small reactive atoms such as those work their way out of your body very quickly.

Lets try again with discomfort levels (.2 mg/kg) average human is 50 kg so to get to this level you'd have to drink 10 liters of city water in one dose or about 2.6 gallons and yes I fully believe you would feel uncomfortable after chugging 2.6 gallons of anything.

The best answers I've seen on this thread are further down with GregH. There's a lot of misconception with RO water and that in order to be healthy you have to consume pure water with as little of anything in it as possible. While this is (mostly) true with things like protozoa and bacteria it is certainly not true of all dissolved solids. Why is gatorade better for athletes than water? The electrolytes (dissolved solids such as calcium and sodium) help their muscles work more efficiently in stressful environments reducing the risk of painful or harmful cramps. Often times you're often doing yourself and your family a disservice by removing these from your water when you deionize it.

Secondly RO systems are incredibly wasteful if used unnecessarily, imagine filling a container and dumping it down the drain and filling it again every time you used RO water, that's literally what you're doing (in an efficient system). A massive amount of energy is consumed getting your water to a potable level. To bring it into your house and use a bunch more (far less efficient systems) for no substantial benefit isn't the right thing to do. Even if you did create a way to recycle this water think of everything that will go into those plumbing systems, running the pumps producing new filters for your system etc.

There is a place for reverse osmosis. Science labs and areas with no available water treatment systems come to mind like small villages in less fortunate areas. Please mail your system to them, it'll do something there. Remember that the people selling these systems had a vested interest in getting you to buy it and making city water seem worse than it is is the best way. I've seen things on the internet about chlorine contamination, electrode analysis and scare tactics to get people to buy these systems when the water they're testing is perfectly safe if not actually healthier than whats coming out of the filter. The only time a RO system is necessary would be during a water boil advisory or a major major snafu by a local government like Flint. The fact that everyone knows what I mean when I say like Flint shows how rare those occurrences truly are. Saying well at least I have the system in case it happens here is like me carrying an AR-15 every minute of every day because I'm worried about being involved in a mass shooting, which is actually way more likely to happen.

sorry for the rant, if you made it this far the threads pretty dead btw
 
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Old 07-02-17, 10:53 PM
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Welcome to the forums.

We typically don't allow old threads to be brought back into the forums. You've added some valid points which will stay attached but this thread will be closed.

It will still be available in our searchable archives.

Feel free to start a new thread for further help.
 
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