Safe Water

...water treatment to remove arsenic & alternative water supplies.  Also test kit & measurement information.

Arsenic Removal Technology Verification Projects

Ontario Centre for Environmental Technology Assessment Envrionmental Technology Verification-Arsenic Mitigation, Bangladesh.  The OCETA Program is "a capacity building project funded by CIDA [to undertake] assessment and verification of arsenic mitigation technologies for treating contaminated rural drinking water. The water treatment technologies currently being field-tested and the large number being proposed will be subjected to a rigorous verification process. The assessment and verification of technologies will be based upon internationally recognized technical protocols and incorporate social and economic parameters specific to Bangladesh.  An important goal of ETV-AM is to build capacity within Bangladesh to apply verification techniques... " For more info see:

Rapid Assessment of Household Level Arsenic Removal Technologies.  WaterAid, DFID and BAMWSP project.  Project reports available online include:

Arsenic Removal Technology Providers & Projects

Bran filters chlorinated hydrocarbons and arsenic out of waste water. Technology Update, Source Water And Sanitation Weekly Issue No. 45-47, 25 Nov 2002.

Researchers of Fraunhofer IGB together with GUTec mbH have succeeded in filtering carcinogenic substances out of industrial waste water with bio-adsorbers using bran. With the aid of the newly developed system, arsenic can be bound almost completely, apart from 0.004 milligrams per liter, and hexachlorcyclohexane can be bound apart from 0.13 micrograms per liter. This reduces the concentration far below the statutory limit values of these pollutants for disposing waste water. The system is highly flexible as far as the process is concerned: at 2,5 meters long, 1,3 meters wide and 2 meters high, it can be used at different locations. It can be operated continuously fully automatically as well as in batch mode.

Contact: Henrike Henschen, Fraunhofer IGB, tel: +49 711 790 4031, email info @, . 

Online Database of Arsenic Remediation Technologies at MITThis excellent web site by Susan Murcott at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) provides an online database of arsenic remediation technologies. It covers both arsenic removal and provision of alternative safe water supplies. There is an excellent overview page that categorizes technologies into nine groups - oxidation, coagulation/precipitation, sedimentation, filtration, adsorption, ion exchange, membrane/reverse osmosis, biological, and other - and describes how each category works. As of this writing (10/02) the database  currently documents 44 individual technologies eg SORAS, Jamal Anwar's Oxidation/Reduction, "Safi" filter, and so on. Documentation for each technology is substantial, including information on the proponents, testing-verification-field trials, number of units in use and their locatin, costs, related publications, etc.

AdEdge Technologies - Contact Kiron Senapati, P.E., Vice President International Business, AdEdge Technologies Inc., 50 Technology Pkwy. South Norcross, GA 30092, tel (678) 221-2138, fax (678) 221-2045.

Adhiacon, CalcuttaFrom Mr. Dipankar Adhya:  "With my deep involvement in Rotary International, and visits to many distant and remote places in the arsenic-affected areas to survey and test of tubewell water, and undertake awareness campaigns, I have come across many questions which I thought should be clarified.  Finally, with the help of Dr.Dipankar Chakraborty of SOES Jadavpur University, whose relentless efforts are an inspiration to me, I prepared a 'FAQ on Arsenic Poisoning of Ground Water.' This is being published in Bengali and distributed free to villagers in the affected area." 

Adhiacon has developed an arsenic removal system that is "working at a community level at Baruipur since October 1999 and is providing an excellent efficiency / result.  In fact it is maintenance free, except regular backwashing to keep filter media clean to for effective catalytic participation in the process. It does not require any change of filter media in its lifetime."  For more information, email Mr. Adhya at .

ADI Group (Canada) Arsenic Removal Technology  From ADI: "We have an agent based in Calcutta who is promoting our arsenic removal technology in these areas. We anticipate that we will be exporting affordable arsenic removal systems this year, as well as economical arsenic field test kits. Our test kits should be available this summer at a cost of $0.90 per test, and accurate down to 5 ppb, with no interference from iron and sulfide. We are also working on arsenic removal systems for use at tube wells, as well as for systems for medical facilities, apartment buildings and commercial establishments. We bid on a project for a new development in Sri Mayapur - a large municipal system.  Our ferric hydroxide adsorption technology was developed in Canada and we recently received verification of our performance claim by ETV Canada Inc. We have a US patent and are nearly pending in Canada, India, Bangladesh and Japan."

Apyron Technologies' Work In India With Arsenic CrisisFrom their press release dated 26 Feb 2001: "... [the] Public Health and Engineering Directorate (PHED) of West Bengal [PHED] ... will use this [UNICEF] grant to fund the installation of multiple groundwater Arsenic Treatment Units (ATUs) designed and engineered by Atlanta-based Apyron Technologies, a material sciences technology company. It is estimated that the installation of these units will provide safe drinking water to more than 4,500 villagers.... Apyron's ATU, designed to treat arsenic contaminated groundwater, is the only technology to be designated as 'Best Available Treatment Technology' by the PHED thus far. In response to this, the PHED has selected this technology for installation in other arsenic-plagued villages. Apyron began installation of its ATUs in India during 1997 through a series of field demonstrations." [Press release continues at ]

Arsenic Crisis In Indian Subcontinent: An Indigenous Solution. Project to install eight well head arsenic removal units in the districts of 24 Parganas and Nadia, West Bengal.  Implemented by the Civil Engineering Department, Bengal Engineering College, Howrah, West Bengal, with primary financing from Water For People (WEP), an affiliation of American Water Works Association (AWWA), Denver, Colorado. [Web page dated June 1999.] "A public service web site (a place where you can find current information and links to many sources about arsenic contamination in drinking water).... While focusing on the United States, we will try to present information from around the world. We have researched arsenic poisoning since 1998, and will continue to summarize the most valid data we can find.... As technologies for reduction of arsenic are proven, we will bring you information on the best filters and methods of remediation available." [Website owner is not identified. Sells filters.]

Arsenic Remediation Technology (AsRT) - Environmental Research Institute (Nikolaos P. Nikolaidis, Jeffery Lackovic, Gregory Dobbs, and Larry M. Deschaine). In situ and ex situ remediation and treatment technique for soil/sediment and water. For a good description see the online article 18 Mar 98: "Filter cleans arsenic tainted water," Environmental News Network staff article now at the CNN website.

Bangladesh Emergency Relief Society. "A Canadian society dedicated to providing newly developed water purifiers to Bangladeshi families, with a view to providing pure uncontaminated water to thousands and eventually millions of families through the local fabrication of the water purifiers in Bangladesh.... The water purifiers come in family sized units, require no water pressure, electricity or chemicals of any nature. They have proven to be effective in removing most noxious contaminants, including arsenic.... You can pay for a for a complete water purifier, shipped and delivered to a Bangladeshi family, and pay with your credit card." Price is USD135 as of 21/9/99. 

Clearwater Concepts Pty Ltd, AustraliaThey have developed a tablet product - Clear-Fresh - for treating drinking water to remove arsenic, to sanitise the water, and to floc impurities out of the water.  The product not only carries out an oxidisation process to remove arsenic and other heavy metals, but also sanitises drinking water by destroying E-coli and harmful bacteria. Clear-Fresh has been tested successfully for the removal of cholera and legionella.  The floccing ability ensures that if polluted water is treated for use as drinking water then items in suspension are flocced to the bottom to enable the largest percentage of clean water to be drawn off. One 2.5 gram tablet will treat 25 litres of water. A family using 40 litres of water a day could treat their water for less than USD25.00 per year.  Clear-Fresh is currently undergoing testing at Deakin University in Australia, and field trials have been carried out in Bangladesh using a 50% lower active ingredient than what is currently produced. The field testing in Bangladesh showed reductions in arsenic levels to the limit of the NIPSOM kit of 0.02 mg/ltrs. The current University testing will provide with the total extent of the reduction using Clear-Fresh.  On the completion of further testing of our product, they will apply for BAMWSP ETV of the technology.  For more information email, tel +61-(0)7-5576 6490.

"Lo-tech patented arsenic removal system" - Solar Purification Company Inc.

Harbauer Environmental Technology, Berlin - see their report on Calcutta & Delhi field trials of their arsenic removal technology

HVR Arsenic Project"Villagers in West Bengal have been severely afflicted by drinking water from deep wells containing arsenic. There is today no technology for the removal of arsenic from water that is both efficient and easy to use and maintain. HVR has developed such technology. It enables the manufacture of robust equipment for the complete removal of arsenic and all other contaminants in well or river water. The immediate aim of the HVR arsenic project is to safeguard the health of millions of villagers in West Bengal."

HydroServe Technologies, Inc. Georgia USA company, wholesales water treatment equipment direct to consumers, for residential, commercial, and industrial applications

HYDRO-Solutions and Purification [no longer available online] "was founded in 1996 to remove arsenic from Alaskan mining wastewater. Subsequently this arsenic removal system was extended to many water and wastewater treatment applications." Claimed to be the most inexpensive (both capital & recurrent costs) process available for commercial, industrial, and municipal arsenic removal. They also have a selenium removal methodology.

MAGC Technologies "MAGC Technologies Limited was formed in early 2000 and is a privately and closely held corporation. MAGC's management team has been involved in the severe crises of arsenic and fluoride contamination in the drinking water supplies of India and Bangladesh since the virtual recognition of these crises. MAGC Technologies has been working with local governments, NGOs, the donor community and private sector entities to make the technology available to the widest possible area in the shortest possible time.  They recognized activated alumina to be the material of choice, not only due to its superior adsorption capability, but also because of the non-leachability feature of the spent media. This led to the formation of a cooperative relationship with Alcan Chemicals Division of Alcan Inc. in solving the problems in India and Bangladesh."

Sandia National Labs (USA) - newsletter article, "Arsenic-trappers could allay national sticker shock of new EPA standard" about new computer-aided designed water treatment materials for  removal of arsenic other micropollutants.

Solar oxidation and removal of arsenic (SORAS)  "SORAS is a simple method that uses irradiation of water with sunlight in PET- or other UV-A transparent bottles to reduce arsenic levels from drinking water. The SORAS method is based on photochemical oxidation of As (III) followed by precipitation or filtration of As (V) adsorbed on Fe (III) oxides. Following laboratory tests, SANDEC, the Department of Water and Sanitation in Developing Countries at the Swiss Federal Institute for Environmental Science and Technology (EAWAG) conducted a series of field tests on SORAS in Bangladesh.  Contact: Martin Wegelin and Daniel Gechter or Stefan Hug."

Sweetwater Technology a/s (Denmark).  "Danish water purification increases health in the third-world: Arsenic in the drinking water threatens the population in Bangladesh" [no longer online - domain name not found] By Lone Sandstrøm for Sweetwater Technology a/s Denmark.  "In Bangladesh the drinking water is filled with arsenic. For that reason Sweetwater Technology A/S who produces portable water purifiers has entered into a collaboration with a local company in the capital of Dhaka to loose the increasing drinking water problem. . . ." 

Synergy Environment Corp. Solar water pasteurizers to disinfect microbiologically contaminated water Email:

USEPAInformation about arsenic removal:

  • Proven alternatives for aboveground treatment of arsenic in groundwater. Engineering Forum Issue Paper. October 2002. "This paper is a revision of the June 2002 version, and contains additional data identified for the related report ...."
  • Arsenic treatment technologies for solid, waste, and water. September 2002. "The purpose of this report is to provide a synopsis of the availability, performance, and cost of 13 arsenic treatment technologies for soil, water, and waste....This report is intended to be used as a screening tool for arsenic treatment technologies. It provides descriptions of the theory, design, and operation of the technologies; information on commercial availability and use; performance and cost data, where available; and a discussion of factors affecting effectiveness and cost. As a technology overview document, the information can serve as a starting point for identifying options for arsenic treatment. The feasibility of particular technologies will depend heavily on site-specific factors, and final treatment and remedy decisions will require further analysis, expertise, and possibly treatability studies."

Alternative Water Supply Technology Providers & Projects

Arsenic Research Group (Dhaka) - Permeable Grog for a Low Cost Water Purifier"The permeable grog is an earthenware purifier candle saturated with a very tiny amount of silver that removes 100% of fecal coliforms.  This device is described in a recent paper presented at the annual convention of the American Ceramic Society.  The paper includes several micrographs showing a network of elongated pores inter-connected such that correct flow rate control is obtained.  The purifier is appropriate to the needs of households or institutions needing to purify collected surface water.  The Arsenic Research Group (ARG), Dhaka, is actively involved in research and development related to the manufacture and use of this device in Bangladesh." - Reid Harvey, ARG Dhaka .  [See also the related ARG post to the arsenic-safewater group at  See also: info on production of earthenware filters in Ivory Coast; "New improved earthenware water purifiers, a sneak preview of candle production," webposted 8 Mar 2002]

ESE, Inc. "Dedicated to activities involved with environmental protection (air and water).  We have developed and innovative and practical systems that generates the disinfectant Sodium Hypochlorite from common salt, water and electricity to sanitize drinking water in remote rural communities where other traditional disinfectants are difficult to use."  Product name is Aquachlor, on-site sodium hypochlorite generator to sanitize drinking water in small communities. "Requires only common salt, water and electricity (110/220 volts, 50/60 hertz  AC or DC from photovoltaic solar cells). Does not require skilled operators, it is easy to operate and maintain. The only maintenance is immersing the electrolytic for a few minutes in white vinegar or hydrochloric acid. Fresh, stable and clean disinfectant generated in the same place of use. The Sodium Hypochlorite concentration is not dangerous to the operator or to the environment. Designed to operate and resist abusive handling and harsh tropical conditions. The most economical way to sanitize and have safe drinking water in remote communities of rural areas and disaster zones."

Gaiasafe "The new developed gaiasafe filter wool makes it possible to clean water by one step process variants of outstanding simplicity. Water dissolved impurities and toxic compounds … can be eliminated by chemical reaction and sorption in a one step processing stage now by gaiasafe filter wool." 

Household Sand Filtration Construction and Production Guidelines.  Medair, a Swiss NGO active in relief and development work, has recently added technical information on household sand filtration to their website.  The information includes blueprints, construction guidelines, material lists and a very detailed photo guide, providing all information necessary for the fabrication of household level slow sand filters, as well as the mould necessary for producing these concrete filters.  Medair has implemented successful sand filter projects in Machakos District, Kenya and in Mozambique. Preparations are underway for a similar programme in Madagascar.  In Kenya six local technicians were trained in construction, maintenance and marketing of the filters. After one year 400 filters had been sold to rural households. After Medair withdrew its support, two technicians continued the project. By Jan 2002 they had sold over 1,000 filters and opened 4 new workshops in additional villages.  

Limitations of Residual Disinfection - paper by Anushka Drescher of WaterHealth International (Oct 1999).  

Solar Solutions. Info & products related to solar distillation. 

Solar water disinfection (SODIS) through plastic bottles - Source article: "SODIS is a simple technology using solar radiation to inactivate and destroy pathogenic micro-organisms present in the water. The treatment basically consists of filling plastic bottles with water and exposing them to full sunlight for about five hours. This alternative water treatment option is for use mainly at household level, but can only produce 1 - 3 liters per person per day. The Department of Water and Sanitation in Developing Countries (SANDEC) at the Swiss Federal Institute for Environmental Science and Technology (EAWAG) in cooperation with numerous partners in developing countries has developed and field tested this water treatment option. The Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) has substantially cofinanced the SODIS project."

Solarmar Int. Inc. - "simple system of water disinfection, based on chlorine, which could be adapted to utilize other compounds (iron?) as a practical remediation process for potable water at the family level.... a simple system for disinfecting raw water on family-sized scale for those people who do not have adequate facilities in rural or urban areas of emerging countries." George Greenbaum would welcome comments and feedback on this suggested alternative.

Field Test Kits & Other Measurement-Related Resources

Arsenic Measurement Related Resources

USEPA Environmental Technology Verification of Arsenic Test Kits.  As part of its ongoing Environmental Technology Verification (ETV) program, the USEPA has recently conducted rigorous reviews of four portable arsenic analyzers.  The USEPA ETV reports for these devices are online:

  1. Peters Engineering PeCo 75 and As 75 (same thing, one with electronic color measurer, one visual)
  2. Envitop Ltd. As-Top Water arsenic test kit
  3. Industrial Test Systems, Inc., QuickT test kit arsenic analysis systems.  See also the manufacturer's website.
  4. NANO-BAND EXPLORER Portable Water Analyzer

The first three are based on arsine generation, while the fourth uses anodic stripping voltammetry.  Of the four, the AS 75 and the Quick test got the best results. USEPA was not able to evaluate the Merck or Hach kits as those manufacturers chose not to submit their kits to USEPA.  [Information graciously provided by Rick Johnston, Dept Environmental Sciences  Engineering, Univ. N. Carolina Chapel Hill, NC, USA.  See also Rick's post to the arsenic-crisis discussion group, Arsenic test kits: how they work.]

Dick Wilson's Measurement of Arsenic Concentrations page.

Field Test Kits

Arsenator.  "Field devices for the reliable determination of low concentrations of total inorganic arsenic (arsenite, arsenate) in water samples."

Arsenic Test Kit Takes The Lab To The FieldKit developed by Gregory Miller while a NM Tech grad student, for collecting water samples for later laboratory arsenic speciation analysis: "The kit contains several columns that are treated with different types of resins and chemicals that, in different combinations, allow some species of arsenic to pass out and some to remain in the column to be saved for analysis. This process can be done in the field in a 15-30 minute procedure with bottles capped, the kit sealed and ready to be mailed to a laboratory for analysis. The kit, which is smaller than a shoebox, contains all of the documentation necessary for a legally defensible analysis."

Hach Arsenic Test Kit application note [60kb .pdf]-  "This Application Note describes the Hach Arsenic Test Kit, which determines arsenic levels from 0 - 500 µg/l using a safe, easy, and inexpensive visual method."  Press release July 2001, "New Hach Test Kit Selected by Bangladesh for Arsenic Mitigation Program" [no longer online].  Other  arsenic-related information from Hach can be found by searching their website using the keyword "arsenic."

Jal-Tara Test Kit For 14 Basic Biophysiochemical Water Parameters"Jal-TARA is an Indian-made cost-effective, portable, compact and easy to operate water testing kit developed by the Environment Systems Branch of Development Alternatives....The sturdy waterproof kit weighs 7 kg with dimensions of 16" x 12" x 9". The kit can test for 14 parameters in 100 samples of water (except the coliform test, for which 10 samples can be tested):

  • Physical - pH, temperature, turbidity 
  • Chemical - fluoride, chloride, residual chlorine, hardness, iron, phosphate, ammonia, nitrate, dissolved oxygen 
  • Biological - coliform bacteria, benthic diversity

"The kit provides quantitative test for hardness, chloride, dissolved oxygen and temperature. Semi-quantitative tests using colour comparison charts are used for the remaining parameters. Reagents are essentially liquid. Other accessories include beakers, syringes, plastic trays, glass test tubes and gloves. A pictorial user's manual and field operational handbook are included, which provide step-by-step instructions for each test. Reagents have a shelf life of six months, with the exception of the starch reagent for the dissolved oxygen tests (one month) and the coliform reagent (two years). Reagents can be replenished and extra equipment can be ordered separately.  Jal-TARA is safe and simple to use, and is popular among school students as well as other organizations for their water monitoring programme. The kit is being extensively used for water quality monitoring in the CLEAN programme. Price: Rs 6500.00 + S.T. @ 10% + freight"

NCL (India) User Friendly Field Test Kit for Measurement of Arsenic in Drinking Water.  "High lights of NCL developed Arsenic Monitor-2000: 1. User friendly, can be used by villagers 2. No electricity or battery required 3. A calibrated detector tube gives quantitative data of the arsenic concentration in the water. 4. Time required for each test is less than 10 minutes. 5. Arsenic determination possible at the source 6. Highly sensitive: can detect arsenic at concentration levels from 5 PPB and above 7. Speciation (i.e. As III and As V) possible 8. Permanent record of each sample with the help of detector tube 9. Detector kits will be used continuously at the installed arsenic removal systems 10.All reagents are in solid form; no liquid or corrosive reagents used.  This kit was developed with financial support from UNICEF.  The performance of the Kit was extensively evaluated in Kolkata in terms of 1. Accuracy 2. Speed 3. Economy 4. User- friendly nature 5. Adaptable at village level monitoring.  Cost of each kit is estimated to be less then $100. One kit will be used for testing 100 water samples. Cost of each sample test will be less then Rs 20/- compared with Rs. 1300/- per sample by the continuous hydride generation atomic absorption method. For further details email to"

PurTest Arsenic Test Kit "Arsenic test kit designed for the homeowner ... test is detectable to 10 ppb [sic]... safe and simple to perform without any special equipment."