ARSENIC TREATMENT TECHNOLOGY UTILIZED IN INDIA AND BANGLADESH
In the past two years, naturally occurring arsenic contamination in groundwater in West Bengal, India and neighboring Bangladesh has emerged into an international crisis with over 100 million people at risk to arsenic poisoning. Rural communities obtain their water from small tube wells, which provide potable water for consumption and domestic use. Over 3 million tube wells are believed to contain arsenic exceeding levels considered safe by the World Health Organization (WHO).
The problem of naturally occurring arsenic is well known throughout these countries affecting over 60% of the Bangladesh's districts, which some experts are calling the "largest mass poisoning in history." The problem exists to a lesser degree in many other countries of the world that depend on groundwater for potable water consumption.
Few if any low cost technologies exist to address the magnitude of this problem. Conventional methods for removing arsenic from water include adsorption, iron/manganese removal processes, co-precipitation, ion exchange, and membrane processes. A recognized need exists to develop affordable technology which could be applied in rural areas, operate with no electricity, require no chemical addition, and be simple to operate and maintain.
APYRON Technologies, Inc. (Formerly Project Earth Industries) has developed a new low cost technology for arsenic removal from water superior to other commercially available technologies. APYRON Technologies' Aqua-BindTM - Arsenic product is a proprietary alumina-based adsorption media that can selectively remove the two most common aqueous forms of arsenic, arsenite (As+3) and arsenate (As+5). An extensive amount of R&D over the past 2 years has produced a material with unique surface, pore properties and chemical characteristics enabling arsenic adsorption capacities up to 10 times higher than conventional materials in the presence of competing ions. Adsorption kinetics are also very rapid, allowing efficient removal of arsenic, often to levels below laboratory analytical detection limits.
APYRON Technologies has demonstrated success in India removing arsenic from groundwater. In early 1998, APYRON Technologies deployed a gravity fed, 2 gpm field prototype unit in West Bengal India treating a contaminated community drinking water supply well. This demonstration system utilized APYRON Technologiesí granular Aqua-BindTM -Arsenic media.
A field sampling and analysis program was implemented by the Indian Governmentís Public Health Engineering Directorate (PHED) to document performance of APYRON Technologiesí Tubewell Treatment Unit (TTU).
Over an approximate 6-month operating period treating an estimated 1000 liters per day, arsenic levels were effectively reduced from an average of over 200 ppb to well below 10 ppb and the WHO safe drinking water standard. Another key feature is that due to the aggressive contaminant binding, the spent material has been tested to be non-hazardous per USEPA TCLP standards.
Based on the success in India, a similar treatment system utilizing APYRON Technologies Aqua-BindTM technology is currently being field tested on a community well in Bangladesh with oversight and funding provided by the World Bank.
Arsenic treatment technology is also receiving greater attention in the U.S. as the USEPA is preparing to lower the MCL for arsenic below the current drinking water standard of 50 ppb. Existing arsenic problems in public and private water supplies have been identified in a number of geographic regions of the U.S. Few cost-effective solutions exist to remove arsenic to < 10 ppb.
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