Technologies for removing arsenic from private well water

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WESTERVILLE, OH, Jul. 9, 2012 -- Technologies are readily available to effectively treat arsenic discovered in private household well water, the National Ground Water Association said today as the federal and state governments conduct testing in Licking County, Ohio.

"While no one wants to have arsenic in the water, the good news is that water well owners who do can treat their water to safe levels with technology that is readily available," said NGWA Public Awareness Director Cliff Treyens.

The U.S. Geological Survey and a number of state and local agencies are cooperating to collect and analyze water samples to get a better picture of where arsenic problem areas exist.

NGWA recommends that household water well owners use a certified drinking water testing lab to annually test their well water for bacteria, nitrate, and "anything of local concern."

"Arsenic occurs naturally in some places, making it a local concern," Treyens said. Sometimes a well can be drilled to a different aquifer, where arsenic is not present.

"If the source of the problem cannot be eliminated, treating the water is the next best solution," he said.

Arsenic treatment technologies for household water wells include:
* Membrane technology, in which membranes are used to separate constituents in water
* Ion exchange technology, a physical-chemical process in which ions are exchanged between a solution phase and a solid resin phase
* Adsorption media, a physical process involving the adherence of a contaminant to the surface of a porous medium.

Following is a summary on the effectiveness and cost of such systems (source: NGWA Best Suggested Practice: Reducing Problematic Concentrations of Arsenic in Residential Well Systems (c) 2009):

There are voluntary performance testing programs for POE and POU treatment systems, such as those of the Water Quality Association and NSF International.

NGWA, a nonprofit organization composed of U.S. and international groundwater professionals -- contractors, equipment manufacturers, suppliers, scientists, and engineers -- is dedicated to advancing groundwater knowledge. NGWA's vision is to be the leading groundwater association that advocates the responsible development, management, and use of water.

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