Most water used in pharmaceutical and biotech plants is treated to US Pharmacopoeia (USP) or European Pharmacopoeia (EP) standards. The water used must meet quality requirements based on intended use with the requirements described in detail in various "compendia" in the USP and EP standards. Local regulatory agencies have adopted these standards and made the maintenance of the quality levels a regulatory requirement.
The water most often used in pharmaceutical and biotech operations is Water for Injection (WFI). Purified Water (PW) is also used for many processes, though many plants find it more economical to operate all systems to the WFI standard. Filters are used in a variety of ways in USP water systems.
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Water is essential to the safe treatment of patients in healthcare facilities from doctors’ offices to ambulatory surgery centers to hospitals and trauma centers.
Instrument cleaning is a critical activity in medical facilities. When instruments or devices are cleaned between uses, they are rinsed with filtered or purified water. Whether cleaning reusable clamps or reprocessing an endoscope, the procedure requires filtered or more highly treated water.
The most critical water in a healthcare facility is used for dialysis. Patients with ESRD require water with very specific purity standards set by the USP and AAMI, water free of both bacteria and endotoxins. Filters are used to assure that the water meets that critical quality level.
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The semiconductor industry requires the purest of all waters - what the industry commonly calls "ultrapure water." The purity standards are set by the Semiconductor Equipment Manufacturers Institute (SEMI). SEMI established these standards to assure that the computer chips used in the device you’re using to view this web page will work as expected. Systems used to produce ultrapure water aim to provide water with virtually zero particles and almost no ions – close to 100% water molecules and nothing else.
Filters are used in ultrapure water systems that create and distribute water for semiconductor fabrication, storage media manufacturing and flat panel display making. Click on the link below to learn more about filters in ultrapure water.
Water for many industrial and commercial operations is treated with reverse osmosis, deionization, softening or some combination. Filters are used to make those processes more efficient by removing a wide variety of contaminants from particles to bacteria to dissolved organic compounds and chlorine.
The uses of filtered and purified water are many. Water is critical for cleaning food products for packaging. Car washes use reverse osmosis treated water for a spot-free rinse. Coffee shops use filters to remove chlorine and other organic tastes from their water. Restaurants filter the water used for cooking to get consistent flavors. Chemical processors need purified water as a raw ingredient. The list goes on and on. Click the link to learn more about the many uses of filters in industrial and commercial facilities.
Fresh water is scarce in some locations. Some areas lack easy access to any water source other than seawater. There are also coastal areas that see salt water intrusion into both surface and groundwater, so all available water is at least brackish.
Removing salt and other dissolved minerals and organics from water is now economical using reverse osmosis and other technologies. Filters are a crucial part of these systems, removing particulates that can interfere with the treatment process. Filters also protect the quality of the treated water as it is distributed for use.