IISER develops a device to detect and remove arsenic from water

The Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER) in collaboration with a private company has developed a new device which can be used to detect and remove arsenic content from water and make it safe and usable by households.

According to the WHO’s guidelines for drinking water quality (2011), the permissible limit of Arsenic in groundwater is .01 mg per litre. However, in India, the permissible limit in drinking water has recently been revised from .05 mg per litre to .01 mg per litre.

Arsenic in groundwater:

Arsenic in groundwater is a geogenic contaminant i.e. caused by natural geologic processes. The incidence of high arsenic in groundwater reported from various parts of the country, particularly in the Ganga- plains is a serious threat to the health of human being.

Over the last three decades, numerous measures have been initiated which includes an alternate arrangement for supply of arsenic-free water to the affected populace and providing arsenic removal plants. Arsenic occurrences in ground water in these areas is highly sporadic in nature and all the sources in these areas are not necessarily contaminated.

Technological options to combat arsenic menace, in groundwater, to ensure supply of arsenic-free water, in the affected areas can be in-situ remediation of arsenic from aquifer system, ex-situ remediation of arsenic from tapped groundwater by arsenic removal technologies, use of surface water source as an alternative to the contaminated groundwater source, tapping alternate safe aquifers for supply of arsenic-free groundwater or combination of above techniques.

The government is tapping alternate safe aquifers, for supply of arsenic-free groundwater in many areas on a local scale; however, this approach would require extensive studies and analysis for mapping of groundwater availability, freshwater reserves and examine mobilization of arsenic in the aquifer, both on a spatial and temporal scale, due to forcing perturbation.

Under the National Aquifer mapping programme (NAQUIM) of CGWB special attention has been given to this aspect and water wells have been constructed tapping arsenic free aquifers using state of the art technology in parts of Ballia and Ghazipur districts of Uttar Pradesh”.

However, the growing arsenic occurrences demand a systematic translation of success stories of one place/region to another and formulating a comprehensive plan to mitigate the arsenic problem through a wider consultation process.

Technological options to combat arsenic menace, in groundwater, to ensure supply of arsenic-free water, in the affected areas can be in-situ remediation of arsenic from aquifer system, ex-situ remediation of arsenic from tapped groundwater by arsenic removal technologies, use of surface water source as an alternative to the contaminated groundwater source, tapping alternate safe aquifers for supply of arsenic-free groundwater or combination of above techniques.

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