Arsenic Removal from Drinking Water Bio-
By Patrick Cox, AICP and Fan Chen, Ph.D. of Geo-
Arsenic poisoning also known as arsenicosis occurs when a person's body contains greater than normal levels of arsenic, a semi-
The most common signs of arsenicosis is the hardening and discoloration of skin on the hands and feet, known as keratosis or melanosis. These skin lesions are prone to infection and gangrene and in extreme cases amputation is necessary to relieve suffering. Beyond these external manifestations, arsenic consumption also increases the risk of developing various internal cancers, most commonly lung and skin cancer. In most situations, arsenic cannot be removed by water treatment techniques typical of developing countries, such as boiling or filtering. Many developing countries, including Cambodia, have set their standard at 50 ppb.
The Cambodia Kanchan Arsenic Filter, Phase I Technical Report FINAL Sep08 Study has demonstrated that iron oxide or common rust has the ability to remove arsenic from water through adsorption. The arsenic becomes attached to the iron oxide and is removed from water. This is great news for Cambodia. A recent report commissioned by the Ministry of Rural Development (MRD) and UNICEF found that an estimated 320,000 people in 1,600 villages are at risk.
Operations of KAF Bio-
The Kanchan Arsenic Filter was developed to remove arsenic from drinking water by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and a Nepali NGO, Environment and Public Health Organization (ENPHO) based on 7 years of extensive inter-
Polluted / contaminated water is poured into the top of the bio-
Disinfection is recommended for the water from the bio-
The contaminated water is aerated while it is flowing through the brick chips, nails and diffuser. Dissolved oxygen in the water is provided to the biological layer. Operation of the bio-
Consistently excellent arsenic removal
Reference: Cambodia Kanchan Arsenic Filter, Phase I Technical Report FINAL Sep08
Requirements / Specifications:
1. Allow approximately up to 30 days to establish the biological treatment layer and 2 weeks to establish rust on the nails.
2. Filter must be used every day to establish and maintain the biological layer
3. Best performance requires that the water source must come from the same location / source; the bio-
4. Swirl and dump maintenance will reduce efficiency until the disturbed bio-
5. A pause between adding water of 8 hours (plus or minus 2 hours) is needed between adding water to the sand bio-
6. The recommended pause period is a minimum of 1 hour and maximum of 48 hours
The phase 1 field testing results are positive for people living in rural Cambodia. The contaminated water in the field testing site contains high arsenic and phosphate levels, which must be lowered to less than 50 ppb to provide safe drinking water. The Kanchan Arsenic Filters with iron nails has been found highly effective.
All 10 test filters have consistently reduced arsenic levels from an average of 637 ppb to less than 50 ppb. That is a 95-
It is expected that this research project can fill an important gap in the delivery of safe drinking water for Cambodia. Although arsenic has been found, there is currently no suitable removal technology for Cambodia. A successful verification of the performance of the Kanchan Arsenic Filter can provide policy-
The Kanchan Arsenic Filter was developed by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and a Nepali NGO, Environment and Public Health Organization (ENPHO) based on 7 years of extensive inter-
Dealing with the waste produced post-
Solid wastes can then be tested for their stability and leachability in various settings, and be separated into hazardous and non-
A novel method was recently proposed suggesting that arsenic remediation sludge should be mixed with cow-
Berg, M., Luzi, S., Trang, P.T.K., Viet, P.H., Giger, W., Stuben, D. (2006) Arsenic removal from groundwater by household sand filters: comparative field study, model calculations, and health benefits. Environmental Science and Technology, 40: 5567-
Berg, M., Stengel C., Pham, T.K.T., Pham, H.V., Sampson M.L., Leng M., Samreth, S., Fredericks, D. (2007) Magnitude of Arsenic Pollution in the Mekong and Red River Deltas -
Buschmann, J., Berg, M., Stengel, C., Sampson, M.L. (2007) Arsenic and manganese contamination of drinking water resources in Cambodia: coincidence of risk areas with low relief topography. Environmental Science and Technology 41(7):2146-
Chiew, H., Sampson, M, Huch, S., Ken, S., Benjamin, C. Bostick, B. (2008) Assessment of Arsenic Removal Performance of Iron-
Feldman, P.R., Rosenboom, J.W., Saray, M., Samnang, C., Navuth, P., Iddings, S. (2007) Assessment of the chemical quality of drinking water in Cambodia, Journal of Water and Health 5(1):101–116 © WHO 2007 doi:10.2166/wh.2006.048
Mahin, T., Ngai, T.K.K., Murcott, S., Mondal, M.K. (2008) Importance of evaluating phosphate levels in tubewells in high arsenic areas of Asia. 33rd WEDC International Conference, Accra, Ghana, 2008 Available at: http://wedc.lboro.ac.uk/conferences/pdfs/33/Mahin_TM.pdf
MIME (2004) Drinking Water Quality Standards. Kingdom of Cambodia, Ministry of Industry, Mines, and Energy. January 2004
MRD and MoH (2007) Disseminating reports on Stakeholder meeting on “Dissemination arsenic contamination in groundwater sources and arsenic mitigation and case management of its toxic effect to human”. Phnom Penh, 23 February, 2007.
Ngai, T. and Walewijk, S. (2003) Arsenic Biosand Filter Project: Design of an Appropriate Household Drinking Water Filter for Rural Nepal. Final report to Environment and Public Health Organization and Rural Water Supply and Sanitation Support Programme, Nepal. July 2003
Ngai, T.K.K., Murcott, S., Shrestha, R.R., Dangol, B., and Maharjan, M. (2006) Development and Dissemination of KanchanTM Arsenic Filter in Rural Nepal. Water Science & Technology: Water Supply 6(3):137–146
Ngai, T.K.K., Murcott, S., Shrestha, R.R., Dangol, B., Maharjan, M. (2007) Design for Sustainable Development – Household Drinking Water Filter for Arsenic and Pathogen Treatment in Nepal. Journal of Environmental Science and Health, Part A. 42(12):1879-
Peang, S. (2006) Arsenic removal from Cambodian ground water using Kanchan Filter. Report. Department of food and chemical engineering, Institute of Technology of Cambodia, Phnom Penh, Cambodia.
Polizzotto, M.L., Kocar, B.D., Benner, S.G., Sampson, M., Fendorf, S. (2008) Nearsurface wetland sediments as a source of arsenic release to ground water in Asia. Nature, 454: 505-
Shriam Institute (2006) Evaluation of Water Quality Monitoring and Purification Products under Long Term Agreement (Performance Evaluation of Wagtech Arsenator) by Shriam Institute for Industrial Research. Report funded by UNICEF India. http://www.wagtech.co.uk/UserFiles/File/Water%20Cat/ArsenatorEvaluation.pdf
Sthiannopkao, S., Kim, K.W., Sotham, S., Choup, S. (2008) Arsenic and manganese in tube well waters of Prey Veng and Kandal Provinces, Cambodia. Applied Geochemistry, 23(5): 1086-
Mr. Tommy Ka Kit Ngai, Research Associate, Centre for Affordable Water and Sanitation Technology, Canada Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Mr. Thomas Mahin, Researcher, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, USA Email: email@example.com
Arsenicosis patients in Cambodia:
Arsenic: Mass Poisoning in the 21st Century
Florence Bullough & Chris Moffat, Imperial College London
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