Arsenic is a naturally occurring metal found in rocks and soil, which can be released into the environment through geological events such as volcanic activity and erosion. Other releases of arsenic into the environment occur through industrial processes such as production of paints, metals, soaps, dyes, drugs, semi-conductors and wood preservatives, as well as in mining and smelting.
General Information and Background
A wide range of technologies, some new and some more traditional, is being marketed and applied for arsenic treatment. Each of these technologies has specific properties impacting its suitability for any particular scale of application. While rare, the ability of a single water treatment technology to perform effectively across many treatment platforms is not unique.
Cross-platform viability of treatment technologies
In February, NSF International arranged for many experts to cover the issues and facets of point-of-use and point-of-entry (POU/POE), how they can be used for PWS compliance and other opportunities for the manufacturers and users. This article is intended to provide opinions and a broad conference overview.
Some really important research going on right now, which is critical for the point-of-use/point-of-entry (POU/POE) industry in order for POU/POE treatment to become an accepted practice for small public water system compliance. It seems as though we are closer than ever to finding acceptance in this arena.
No one wants to drink radium, nitrates or arsenic. However, if not for some technologically advanced methods of removing these contaminants, we all might be sipping on some very unhealthy water.
While high concentrations of arsenic are found mostly in the Western region of the United States, parts of the Midwest and New England show levels of arsenic
that exceed the newly approved U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) standard of 10 parts per billion (ppb). Individuals not willing to wait for their water system's compliance with the arsenic standard currently are looking for treatment systems to use in their homes. POU and even point-of-entry (POE) treatment systems are an attractive solution for these individuals. The process should begin with a basic understanding of arsenic contamination and the element's chemistry, a complete water quality analysis of the application-specific water and the knowledge of available technologies.
On-going health effects studies and research reports (2001) appear to support the argument for lowering the current EPA drinking water standard for arsenic. Studies conducted by EPA, the University of North Carolina and the University of British Columbia have indicated that methylated metabolites of trivalent arsenic are genotoxic. In other words, they damage DNA in human cells.
Human Exposure and Health Effects
In March 2001, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) withdrew a proposal for a lower maximum contaminant level (MCL) for arsenic in drinking water that would bring the standard from 50 parts per billion (ppb) to 10 ppb. At that time, the EPA commissioned three studies to examine the benefits, costs and health effects associated with a lower standard for arsenic.
A brief look at one solution for arsenic removal
Recent market research showed that more than 73 percent of consumers prefer to consult with a water treatment professional when dealing with arsenic. Combining this inclination with the preference for the POE approach, the treatment professional has a unique opportunity to generate significant new revenue from POE sales with minimal upfront effort.
A new low cost technology for purifying arsenic contaminated groundwater assists the government of India in removing this slow but steady assassin from their midst.
System requires no electricity, treats 1,000 liters per day in West Bengal