Treatment Options for Arsenic in Drinking Water


Many individuals are unaware of the fact that many of today’s natural water sources contain high levels of arsenic. Drinking or consuming large amounts of arsenic can be dangerous to your health. Various types of technologies can help you deal with arsenic removal from your regular drinking water. Here are some of the various treatment options available that can help you make your drinking water safe and arsenic-free.

Oxidation Processes

Oxidation is one of the most effective processes in removing arsenic from your drinking water. Most arsenic treatment systems have an oxidization step in their treatment process because it coverts arsenic into arsenate. Arsenate is an insoluble compound that makes removing it from water easier. Treatment systems tend to perform the oxidation process by injecting oxygen, hypochlorite, permanganate, and hydrogen peroxide into the water. Some technologies use a process known as passive sedimentation, in which water is exposed to the natural oxygen in the air to remove arsenic in the water. Such a process is time-consuming but effective. More traditional sedimentation uses has small amounts of iron precipitated into the water to help aid in the oxidation process and remove arsenic faster. This is done through the treatment system’s aquifer so that any leftover arsenic and iron are left behind when water reaches your sink or drinking glass.

Coagulation Processes

Coagulation and filtration use a combination of both mineral salts and decomposed limestone to remove arsenic from water. During the coagulation process, arsenic is precipitated into an insoluble compound, making it easier to remove from water. The new compound is then exposed to metallic compounds using co-precipitation, where it is absorbed by the metallic compounds. The water treatment systems use coagulation, a combination of alum, ferric chloride, and ferric sulphate to remove arsenic. This process has been tested by labs and is under government regulation and certification. One of the ways coagulation is used in water treatment technologies is through the bucket treatment unit. This process uses two buckets to manually treat and filter water to a pair of large buckets. Other technologies use the naturally found iron in ground water to help decompose and filter out unwanted arsenic. The aquifer prevents unwanted iron from being left in your drinking water.

drinking water stock imageSorptive Filtration Processes

Sorptive filtration uses various types of media to remove arsenic from your drinking water. One of these media is known as activated alumina, which uses alumina grains to absorb arsenic from a large water surface area. The surface area is divided into several columns. Once the upper part of the column becomes saturated, the rest of the column becomes saturated as water flows downward, removing all impurities from it. Granular ferric hydroxide acts similar to filters that absorb impurities such as arsenic from the water as it flows through them. However, these filters can become clogged if high concentrations of iron are found in the water’s composition. Other treatment media use a combination of iron-coated sand or brick chips along with ferrous sulphate solution to create a filtering agent to absorb arsenic and other impurities from water as it passes though the treatment system’s water tubes.

Ion Exchange Processes

Ion exchange uses similar processes to activated alumina. The difference is that it uses a synthetic resin, also called a matrix, that separates various compounds and substances found in water into different groups. While other processes are influenced by the water’s pH balance to function correctly, ion exchange is less influenced by it. This process does not remove arsenic from water, but rather arsenic is collected in the synthetic resin, where it is removed during the ion exchange process. Any excess oxidants need to be removed for the ion exchange to take place to prevent the synthetic resin from being damaged. This resin can wear down after continuous use and needs to be replenished regularly. However, washing the medium with a sodium chloride solution will regenerate the ion exchange resin.


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