Feb 15, 2019

Student Develops System to Remove Arsenic from Drinking Water

The high school student was inspired to create the drinking water system after visiting his father’s hometown in Bangladesh

Student develops low-cost method to remove arsenic from drinking water
Student develops low-cost method to remove arsenic from drinking water

A sophomore student at Academic Magnet High School in Charleston, S.C., has developed a system to remove arsenic from drinking water in low-income communities. Ishraq Haque was inspired to create the system after visiting his parents’ hometown in Bangladesh, India, and learning of the drinking water contamination many members of the community face.

“I saw how dozens of people in my dad’s local village are drinking arsenic contaminated water, which as a result could lead to illness such as cancer, skin darkening, skin lesions and more,” Haque said to local news source WCSC Live.

Haque’s project is called “A Novel Approach to Removing Arsenic from Drinking Water for Low-Income Populations in Rural Villages,” and won first place at the South Carolina Department of Defense Junior Science and Humanities Symposium. The system also currently is in use in several homes in a town in Bangladesh.

“After doing some preliminary research, I found that laterite soil can filter out arsenic from drinking water,” Haque said. “From there, working with some local villagers, I mapped out my ideas and slowly built it together.”

While the low-cost system is only able to bring arsenic levels down to approximately 25 ppb–higher than the U.S. threshold of 10 ppb–it still treats drinking water to have arsenic levels below the Bangladesh threshold of 50 ppb. Ultimately, Haque hopes to meet the clean drinking water threshold of the World Health Organization with his system.   

After winning the South Carolina Department of Defense Junior Science and Humanities Symposium, Haque earned a $2,000 scholarship and a trip to New Mexico for a national competition in April. At the national competition, 230 students from around the world will compete for additional scholarship money.

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