Abstract Methods for treatment of hazardous and complex, aqueous industrial wastes are of great current interest. Reverse osmosis (RO) has been shown to be an efficient and cost effective process step for renovation of a broad range of complex industrial wastes. The success of RO in large-scale desalination and municipal wastewater treatment has led many industries to view this technology as a means of pollution abatement and cost savings through reuse. Applications include renovation of effluents from the chemical, textile, petrochemical, electrochemical, pulp, paper and food industries. Also, treatment of landfill leachate with RO is showing promise as a means of avoiding groundwater and surface water contamination.