IWA Publishing

Field investigation of arsenic in ceramic pot filter-treated drinking water

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Courtesy of IWA Publishing

Ceramic pot filters (CPFs) is one of several household water treatment technologies that is used to treat drinking water in developing areas. The filters have the advantage of being able to be manufactured using primarily locally available materials and local labor. However, naturallyoccurring arsenic present in the clay used to make the filters has the potential to contaminate the water in excess of the World Health Organization drinking water standard of 0.01 mg/L. A manufacturing facility in Guatemala routinely rinses filters to reduce arsenic concentrations prior to distribution to consumers. A systemic study was performed to evaluate the change in arsenic concentrations with increasing volumes of rinse water. Arsenic field kit results were compared to standard method laboratory results, and dissolved versus suspended arsenic concentrations in CPF-treated water were evaluated. The results of the study suggest that rinsing is an effective means of mitigating arsenic leached from the filters, and that even in the absence of a formal rinsing program, routine consumer use may result in the rapid decline of arsenic concentrations. More importantly, the results indicate that filter manufacturers should give strong consideration to implementing an arsenic testing program.

Keywords: arsenic, ceramic pot filters, drinking water, filtration, guatemala, point of use

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