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Osmosis is a natural process, known for over 200 years, on which reverse osmosis systems are based. The walls of living cells are natural membranes. This means that the membrane is selective, some materials can pass through, it cannot.
About Reverse Osmosis

This page explains pretty well what reverse osmosis is for treating water. I had no idea either (still don't) but the illustrations help. (Not endorsing any product here. But they have great info.)

Offered by Clipper.

I looked at that page and you are correct in that its description of reverse osmosis is not a very understandable explanation. I have always heard it explained like this: Reverse osmosis filtering of water is done by forcing the water under high pressure through a porous membrane. The holes in the membrane are large enough for the water to get through but trap larger particles which would be impurities. The "high pressure" part is the key as the holes in the membrane are so small that nothing would get through without it.

Offered by Michael.

That's as good a definition of Reverse Osmosis as I have heard. I've used them for years, they give you great water but they also waste a lot. I’m not sure how effective they will be after the pole shift. If you can hook up a hand pump they could be very handy.

Offered by Stan.