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Arsenic Contamination
An increasing concern
High toxicity and widespread occurrence
Chronic exposure leading to disorders
Results from a combination of natural
and anthropogenic processes, still an
Removal techniques - strengths and
Innovative technologies, good future
scope, sustainability
Arsenic Contamination
Across the world :

West Bengal(Most seriously
Bangladesh(Most seriously affected)

Symptoms of chronic exposure :

skin, cardiovascular, renal,

hematological and respiratory
Serious illnesses such as
melanosis, keratosis, cancer, and
gangrene (West Bengal and
Arsenic Contamination
Geogenic Origin, As
released under conditions
conducive to its dissolution.
1. Oxidation of As-bearing pyrite
2. Reductive Dissolution of As-
rich iron oxyhydroxides

Application of fertilizers,
burning of coal, leaching of

Excessive exploitation of

Spread out resulting from

the mobilization under
natural hydro-geologic
Mitigation and Remedy of Groundwater Arsenic Menace in India : A Vision
National Institute of Hydrology, Roorkee
Central Ground Water Board, New Delhi
Contributors : Basu, Biplab Bhusan, School of Fundamental Research, et al.

Mostly restricted to the alluvial aquifers of the Ganges

delta (several studies)

Recent studies : Extending further to the west,

(transported with the fluvial sediments from the Himalayas
(McArthur et al., 2004). This is the most accepted
hypothesis at present).

Release of As, recognized, from the Holocene sediments

comprising sand, silt and clay derived from the Himalayas
(Bhattacharya et al., 1997; McArthur et al., 2004)

Remedies :

i) In-situ remediation of arsenic from aquifer system

ii) Ex-situ remediation from tapped groundwater by
arsenic removal technologies
iii) Use of surface water source as an alternative
iv) Tapping alternate safe aquifers for supply
An Overview of Arsenic Removal Technologies in Bangladesh and India,
M. Feroze Ahmed
Department of Civil Engineering Bangladesh University of Engineering & Technology, Dhaka-1000,

Salient Points :

1. Utilization of conventional
processes of oxidation, co-
precipitation & adsorption onto
coagulated flocs, sorptive media,
ion exchange and membrane

2. Conventional technologies scaled

down to meet the requirements of
households and communities

3. Comparison of main As-removal

Application of titanium dioxide in arsenic removal from water: A review
Xiaohong Guan (a), Juanshan Du (b), Xiaoguang Meng (c), Yuankui Sun (a), Bo Sun (c), Qinghai Hu (a)
(a) State Key Laboratory of Pollution Control and Resources Reuse, College of Environmental Science and Engineering, Tongji
University, Shanghai, PR China
(b) State Key Lab of Urban Water Resource and Environment, Harbin Institute of Technology, Harbin, PR China
(c) Center for Environmental Systems, Stevens Institute of Technology, Hoboken, NJ 07030, USA
Journal of Hazardous Materials

Salient Points :

Arsenic species commonly reported :

As(III), As(V), MMA and DMA.

Reviewed the application of TiO2 in

removing inorganic and organic arsenic

TiO2 photocatalysis, an effective

method to oxidize As(III) to As(V) in the
presence of oxygen

Future needs in TiO2-based arsenic

removal technology should take into
considerations reducing the treatment
cost, decreasing the operational
complexity of the technology and disposal
of arsenic bearing treatment residual.
Ex Situ Remediation Techniques
Oxidation :
To convert arsenite to arsenate
By oxygen (O2), hypochlorite (HClO), permanganate (HMnO4) and
hydrogen peroxide (H2O2)
A very slow process (weeks) - catalysed by bacteria, strong acidic or alkali
solutions, powdered activated carbon, high temperature.

Coagulation and filtration :

Arsenic removed from solution through three mechanisms (EDWARDS
1994) : Precipitation , Co-precipitation and Adsorption
Using alum, ferric chloride, or ferric sulphate effective at removing arsenic.
Mainly controlled by pH and coagulation dose.
Ex Situ Remediation Techniques
Solar Oxidation and Precipitation of Fe(III)-Oxides with Adsorbed As(V)

SORAS, simple method, uses irradiation of water with sunlight to reduce

arsenic levels
Based on two steps: 1. Photochemical oxidation 2. Precipitation of As(V)
adsorbed on Fe(III)-oxides.

Electrodialysis Reversal (EDR)

Removal efficiencies of 80 percent

Easier to operate than RO/
Ex Situ Remediation Techniques
Ion Exchange

Synthetic resin
less dependent on pH
Arsenite, being uncharged, not removed.
Hence, pre-oxidation of As(III) to As(V) is required
Ion exchange resins can be easily regenerated
by washing with a NaCl solution.

Membrane Technique

Synthetic membranes used to eliminate

pathogens, salts and various metal ions.
Two types : low-pressure membranes
(microfiltration and ultrafiltration) and high-
pressure membranes (nanofiltration and reverse
Independent of pH and other solutes, adversely
affected by colloidal matters
Ex Situ Remediation Techniques
Sorptive Filtration
Activated alumina, activated carbon, iron and manganese coated sand, kaolinite
clay, hydrated ferric oxide, activated bauxite, titanium oxide, silicium oxide - sorptive
Efficiency depends on the use of oxidising agents as aids to provoke the sorption.

Activated alumina (Al2O3)

Good sorptive surface (200-300 m2/g)
Regeneration : 4% caustic soda (NaOH)
BUET Activated Alumina, the Alcan Enhanced Activated Alumina
Granular ferric hydroxide
Removal of arsenate, arsenite and phosphate
Water containing high dissolved iron, aerated and filtered as a pre-
Hydrous cerium oxide
Highly efficient
Iron coated sand and iron coated brick chips
Effective in removing both As(III) and As(V)
Shapla arsenic filter - example of a household arsenic removal filter
Ex Situ Remediation Techniques
Point of Use(POU)
RO unit, a membrane system that rejects compounds
Removes 86% of the total arsenic.

ElectroChemical Arsenic Remediation (ECAR)

Low electrical current
Targeted for communities or countries with more or less no resources for
standard coagulation/filtration plants
Reportedly much less expensive
Limitations of Ex-Situ Remediation
Coagulation/Filtration and Lime Softening:
Not appropriate for small systems
High cost, need for well trained operators, and variability in process performance.
Disposal of sludge

Activated Alumina:
Chemical handling requirements make this process too complex and dangerous
AA loses significant adsorptive capacity with each regeneration cycle.
Highly concentrated waste streams

Ion Exchange:
Highly concentrated waste by-product stream

Reverse Osmosis/Nanofiltration:
Extensive corrosion control required for low-level option
Water rejection (about 20-25 percent of influent) - an issue in water-scarce regions

Electrodialysis Reversal:
Water rejection - an issue in water-scarce regions.
Not be competitive with respect to costs and process efficiency when compared with RO
and NF
Other Potential Approaches and
Future Scope

Phytoremediation (Rhizofiltration) : Biomaterial produced from dried water

hyacinth roots. Efficiency ~ 90%


Permeable Reactive Barriers : Lower operation & maintenance costs than ex-
situ technologies.
Nanofiltration : Pore sizes from 1-10 nanometers; Can be used in any type of
In-situ Oxidation of Iron and Arsenic in the Aquifer : Tested under the DANIDA
(Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark) Arsenic Mitigation Pilot project in
Bangladesh; Significantly reduced arsenic and iron.

Only a few applications of these technologies available in the literature

Additional treatment data needed to determine their applicability and effectiveness
in field condition.
Source of Arsenic contamination in the GBP : geological origin and
percolation of fertilizer residues

Identification of parental rocks, concept of fluvial deposits

Removal of As by suitable ex situ techniques

Innovative technologies and future scope

1. G.
Badalians Gholikhandi, H.R. Oremiuh, R. Riahi. Efficient Methods for Arsenic
Removal from Groundwater. 10.2495 International Journal of Safety and
Security Engineering. Volume 1 (2011), Issue,3. 326 - 342

2. M. Feroze Ahmed. An Overview of Arsenic Removal Technologies in

Bangladesh and India. UNITED NATIONS UNIVERSITY (Editor) (2001):
Technologies for Arsenic Removal from Drinking Water. Dhaka, 251-269.

3. N C Ghosh, ed. Mitigation and Remedy of Groundwater Arsenic Menace in

Inida : A vision document, Publisher: National Institute of Hydrology, MOWR, Jal
Vigyan Bhawan, Roorkee, 2010.

4. Tarit RoyChowdhary. Groundwater Arsenic Contamination in one of the 107

affected blocks in West Bengal, India : Status, distribution, health effects and
factors responsible for Arsenic poisoning; International Journal of Hygiene and
Environmental Health. Volume 213, Issue 6, November 2010, 414427

6. Xiaohong Guan, Juanshan Du, Xiaoguang Meng, Yuankui Sun, Bo Sun, Qinghai
Hu. Application of titanium dioxide in arsenic removal from water: A review.
Journal of Hazardous Materials, Volumes 215216, 15 May 2012, Pages 116