Arsenic in drinking water wells on the Bolivian high plain: field monitoring and effect of salinity on removal efficiency of iron-oxides-containing filters
Faculty of Sciences. Biology
New York, N.Y.
Journal of environmental science and health: A: environmental science and engineering. - New York, N.Y.
, p. 1741-1749
University of Antwerp
In the rural areas around Oruro (Bolivia), untreated groundwater is used directly as drinking water. This research aimed to evaluate the general drinking water quality, with focus on arsenic (As) concentrations, based on analysis of 67 samples from about 16 communities of the Oruro district. Subsequently a filter using Iron Oxide Coated Sand (IOCS) and a filter using a Composite Iron Matrix (CIM) were tested for their arsenic removal capacity using synthetic water mimicking real groundwater. Heavy metal concentrations in the sampled drinking water barely exceeded WHO guidelines. Arsenic concentrations reached values up to 964 μ g L-1 and exceeded the current WHO provisional guideline value of 10 μ g L-1 in more than 50% of the sampled wells. The WHO guideline of 250 mg L-1 for chloride and sulphate was also exceeded in more than a third of the samples, indicating high salinity in the drinking waters. Synthetic drinking water could be treated effectively by the IOCS- and CIM-based filters reducing As to concentrations lower than 10 μ g L-1. High levels of chloride and sulphate did not influence As removal efficiency. However, phosphate concentrations in the range from 4 to 24 mg L-1 drastically decreased removal efficiency of the IOCS-based filter but had no effects on removal efficiency of the CIM-based filter. Results of this study can be used as a base for further testing and practical implementation of drinking water purification in the Oruro region.