Water Research - Field results from Well-head arsenic removal units in Remote Villages of Indian subcontinent

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Screenshot 2018-11-10 21.37.09.png

Water Research - Field results from Well-head arsenic removal units in Remote Villages of Indian subcontinent

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Since 1997, over 135 well-head arsenic removal units have been installed in remote villages in the Indian state of West Bengal bordering Bangladesh. Every component of the arsenic removal treatment system including activated alumina sorbent is procured indigenously. Each unit serves approximately 200–300 households and contains about 100L of activated alumina. No chemical addition, pH adjustment or electricity is required for operating these units. The arsenic concentration in the influent varies from around 100 mg/L to greater than 500 mg/L. In the treated water, arsenic concentration is consistently below 50 mg/L. The units are capable of removing both arsenites and arsenates from the contaminated groundwater for several months, often exceeding 10,000 bed volumes. In the top portion of the column, the dissolved iron present in ground water is oxidized by atmospheric oxygen into hydrated Fe(III) oxides or HFO particles which in turn selectively bind both As(III) and As(V). Upon exhaustion, these units are regenerated by caustic soda solution followed by acid wash. The arsenic-laden spent regenerant is converted into a small volume sludge (less than 500 g) and contained over a coarse sand filter in the same premise requiring no disposal. Many units have been operating for several years without any significant operational difficulty. The treated water is used for drinking and cooking. Most importantly, the villagers are responsible for the day to day operation and the upkeep of the units.

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