Breaking down how reverse osmosis works

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BRUNSWICK COUNTY, NC (WWAY) — Reverse osmosis is a hot topic among many people across the Cape Fear right now. Reports say it is the only way to completely filter out GenX.

But before you go buy an in-home filter system, H2GO Executive Director Bob Walker says not so fast.

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“That should be our priority. Number one is to make sure our rivers and streams are clean,” Walker said.

Walker says the best way to ensure clean water is through reverse osmosis.

“Reverse osmosis is actually forcing water through a membrane to an unnatural state,” Walker said.



Walker says the reverse osmosis membrane filters out all organic and toxic compounds. The process pushes water from high to low pressure through the membrane, filtering the bad water to the outside of the structure while pushing the clean water to the center.

“I think the GenX issue, or event, has made people more aware that yes this river is vulnerable,” Walker said. “And yes this area does need an alternate water source if we’re going to continue as viable community.”

That is why H2GO is proposing a reverse osmosis water treatment plant. However, Brunswick County commissioners and Leland Town Manager David Hollis say it should be up to the voters on whether they want the plant in the area.

“I think it’s politically positive that it gives the people a voice in the process. If it’s a good thing then come November it’ll be a good thing then,” Hollis said.

But Walker insists the reverse osmosis plant is the best and only option for GenX free water.

“Like in home reverse osmosis plants probably would not take it out. But the reverse osmosis plant that we’re going to install. It would take the GenX out,” Walker said.

Walker adds the in home filters are not small enough to keep out the tiny GenX compound.

“It has a long carbon chain so you have to have a really tight membrane to be able to filter it out. Even though it may have a, I’m getting technical here, kind of a heavy molecular weight, the fact that it’s long like a string makes it able to pass through not too tight membranes.”

Walker says it is just one way to keep your drinking water safe and why H2GO is pushing to open the reverse osmosis plant by 2018.

Last month Brunswick County commissioners passed a resolution to ask H2GO to slow down the reverse osmosis plant until the November election. Thursday Leland’s town council is also planning to do the same thing despite the recent discovery of GenX.