Hand-pump subsurface arsenic removal: the effect of groundwater conditions and intermittent operation

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Hand-pump subsurface arsenic removal (SAR) has been investigated in rural Bangladesh with different groundwater conditions and intermittent operation modes. Multiple injection-abstraction cycles were performed after injection of 1 m3 of aerated water. From these experiments it can be concluded that hand-pump SAR, in the traditional injection-abstraction design, does not provide drinking water below the WHO arsenic guideline of 10 μg/L. Results show that arsenic removal was not enhanced by: (i) injection of O2-rich water, (ii) higher Fe:As ratios in the groundwater, or by (iii) multiple injection-abstraction cycles, i.e. at location 1, the breakthrough occurred at abstraction-injection ratios of Va/Vi = 2, for cycle 23. It is proposed that dissolved organic carbon (DOC), bicarbonate and phosphate have a significant effect on the arsenic adsorption process. However, iron removal was very efficient and abstraction-injection ratios increased within successive cycles, with Va/Vi > 8 for cycle 23. Furthermore, intermittent operation reduced arsenic concentrations after stop and restart, suggesting insufficient contact time between soluble arsenic and oxidized iron surfaces around the tube well.

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