Enhancing arsenic removal from groundwater at household level with naturally occurring iron

Abstract A supply of drinking water low in Arsenic (As) prevents arsenic poisoning. The presence of high concentrations of iron (Fe) in groundwater under the alluvial plains of the large rivers in Southeast Asia is a prerequisite for the simple removal of As. This study investigated the mechanisms and possibilities for enhancing As removal with naturally occurring Fe in a reliable, low cost and sustainable way. The results of the study show that As removal with Fe is greatly enhanced by the addition of an oxidizing agent (preferably KMnO4) immediately after the pumping of groundwater. Further enhancement of As removal in the presence of Fe can be achieved by adding a small volume of a concentrated basic solution of MnO4- and AlO2-, which has a combined oxidation, coagulation and buffering capacity. Best results were obtained when this solution was mixed with the groundwater immediately after its pumping until a pale pink color appeared. Maximum required reaction time was 10 minutes and subsequent filtration of the water was able to reduce the As concentration to near zero. Concentrations of MnO4- and AlO2- can be varied in the solution to achieve sufficient As removal to suit different Fe/As ratios and the presence of interfering co-occurring anions.