SCERP FY08: Evaluation of Inexpensive Sorption Technologies for Arsenic Removal from Groundwater in the Arizona-Mexico Border Region

Project: Research project

Project Details


Arsenic is a naturally occurring contaminant found in the groundwater of the southwestern United States and northern Mexico in levels that are significantly higher than the maximum contaminant levels recommended for drinking water by the World Health Organization. A SCERP funded study (W-03-15) conducted in 2003-2004 period (Westerhoff was the PI), implies that arsenic concentrations in the groundwater along the Arizona-Mexico border are, in general, higher than the new standards and guidelines. The working hypothesis is that sorption can be used as a successful technology for arsenate removal from groundwater. A variety of easily created or commercially available and naturally occurring media can be used to provide inexpensive and simple small community point-of-use treatment systems capable of removing the arsenic to levels below the established water quality standards. Therefore, the goal of the proposed study is to evaluate and/or develop inexpensive surfactant or iron (hydr)oxide based technologies capable of removing arsenic from groundwater found in the Arizona-Mexico border region. Development of such technology should help attain these arsenic standards that can represent a burden for small communities as existing point-of-use technologies for arsenic removal are expensive. A task oriented approach is proposed: (1) Formulate model water with chemistry matrix representing the chemistry of the groundwater found in the Arizona-Mexico Border region with focus on the states of Sonora and Chihuahua; (2) Fabricate inexpensive surfactant-coated media and/or iron (hydr)oxide based media capable of ample arsenic removal; (3) Conduct isotherm experiments to evaluate the arsenic removal capacity of the fabricated media and select the best performing media; and (4) Conduct dynamic tests to evaluate the sorption kinetics of the best performing media. The core of the cooperation between ASU and the Mexican university will be based on selecting a student form the universities in the border region to conduct the bulk of laboratory work at Arizona State University. The developed cooperation should contribute to knowledge sharing and technology transfer across the US-Mexico border. The study should provide insight for considerations when designing and developing small community and single dwelling arsenic removal treatment system. The information obtained from the study can be used by government and non-government agencies in development of strategies for improvement of the water quality and supply_ Industry can utilize the information and the data in development design and manufacturing of small ground water treatment systems for use in remote and isolated communities in northern Mexico. The total amount of grant is $74.110. As proposed, $74,110 is being requested from SCERP.
Effective start/end date6/1/081/31/11


  • EPA: Region 9: $73,621.00


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