EPA-funded arsenic removal project gets under way

The first full-scale arsenic removal demonstration project for drinking water in the nation funded by the EPA began its year-long run Jan. 7 in Anthony, N.M.

Jan. 14, 2004 -- The first full-scale arsenic removal demonstration project for drinking water in the nation funded by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) began its year-long run at a ribbon-cutting ceremony Jan. 7.

Funding for this project follows EPA's approval of a new arsenic standard for drinking water of 10 parts per billion promulgated January 2001. At that time, EPA pledged to support research and development of cost-effective technologies to help communities meet the standard.

"Since nearly 97 percent of the water systems affected by the new standard are small systems that serve less than 10,000 people each, it is vital that treatment technologies be developed that are effective and affordable. EPA is pleased to help foster potential solutions to this challenge," said EPA Regional Administrator Richard E. Greene.

EPA has set aside $157,000 to fund installation and demonstration of the new treatment technology for a year at the Desert Sands Mutual Domestic Water Consumers Association in Anthony, New Mexico. The technology being tested at the site attempts to use an iron oxide media to absorb arsenic from water.

The project is one of 12 funded in 2003. Another demonstration project in New Mexico will be sited at Nambe Pueblo and will begin later this year. EPA expects the projects to verify new treatment technologies that can be used across the nation by thousands of water systems.

EPA's standard for arsenic in drinking water was established to protect public health from potential effects of long-term exposure to low concentrations of inorganic arsenic. These effects may include cancer of the skin, bladder, lung, kidney, nasal passages, liver and prostate, as well as cardiovascular, pulmonary, immunological, neurological and endocrine (e.g., diabetes) effects. Water systems must comply with the new standard by January 2006.

More information on the arsenic standard is available at http://www.epa.gov/safewater/ars/ars_rule_techfactsheet.html. More information on the arsenic removal demonstration projects is available at http://www.epa.gov/ORD/NRMRL/arsenic/.


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