U.S. Water News Online
IDAHO FALLS, Idaho — The Idaho National Laboratory has developed a technique for removing arsenic from water that is seven times more effective than anything currently available, Energy Department officials say.
In a statement, the federal agency said a licensing agreement that gives exclusive rights to market the technique has been signed with Water Technology Group Inc. of Harvard, Mass.
“This technology will aid millions of Americans and more than 70 million people around the globe who are exposed to dangerous arsenic concentrations in their drinking water,” Troy Tranter, the lab's project manager, said in a statement.
“Anybody who's in this business would like to make a contribution to water quality in India, Africa and South America,” Water Technology's chief executive, Jack Boyles, told the Post Register.
Since January 2006 the Environmental Protection Agency has set the maximum safe arsenic level for drinking water at 10 parts per billion, down from 50 parts per billion.
Some studies show arsenic in drinking water at levels greater than 10 parts per billion can increase cancer rates, but water for about 4,000 municipalities and nearly 14 million U.S. homeowners exceed that level.
For example, in Twin Falls in southcentral Idaho, some sampling of municipal water has shown as much as 18.1 parts per billion of arsenic. In 2007 the town was given a five-year extension — to Jan. 11, 2011 — to reduce the arsenic.
Tranter said the new removal technique, Nano-Composite Arsenic Sorbent, uses tiny particles that attract the arsenic. The particles are spread throughout a film that coats perforated plastic beads, each a little smaller than a BB, and the beads are contained inside a cartridge. Arsenic is removed as water passes through the beads.
“(The) technology will provide affordable, effective and manageable solutions for municipalities, small public water systems and residential systems with arsenic contamination,” Boyles said.
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