ISPE Glossary of Pharmaceutical and Biotechnology Terminology

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The countercurrent flow of water through equipment, usually to clean or to recover performance, such as in a resin bed (flow-in at the bottom of the exchanger unit and out at the top) to clean and reclassify the bed after exhaustion. This process of reversing flow may also be applied to filters in order to force contaminants out of plugged pores and passages.


The process of flowing water in the opposite direction from normal service flow through a filter bed or ion exchange bed. The purpose of backwashing a sand filter is to clean it by washing away all the material it has collected during its service cycle. The purpose of backwashing a carbon filter is also to clean it, but primarily to eliminate flow channels that might have formed and to expose new absorption sites.

Publication Source: ISPE Baseline® Guide, Vol. 4: Water and Steam Systems (Second Edition)

Publication Date: 2011

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