Arsenic is a naturally occurring contaminant that is tasteless, odorless and colorless. In addition, it may be found due to residual from Apple Orchard spraying, treated wood or coal ash residue. Many Massachusetts homeowners are quite surprised when they get a positive water test result. While there are serious health threats associated with ingestion, there are effective methods for its removal from well water. For detail on potential health affects, see the link at: http://www/mediacentre/factsheets.
TYPES OF ARSENIC IN WELL WATER
There are two primary forms in well water, Arsenic III and Arsenic V. Many removal media have a low capacity for removing Arsenic III from the water, therefore, determining the ratio of III versus V in the water is critical. This will allow the design and implementation of a water treatment system that will effectively remove it from the water. There are methods to oxidize III and convert it to V for ease of removal.
WATER TEST & ANALYSIS
Having a complete laboratory water test and analysis, including parameters that can negatively impact arsenic removal media, is critical to a well designed, safe water treatment system. pH can significantly affect Arsenic media performance along with other competing ions such as Iron, Manganese, Hardness, Vanadium, Sulfate, Phosphate, Silica, Total Dissolved Solids, Suspended Solids and Hydrogen Sulfide. For a full article on this topic we’ve had published in Water Technology Magazine, go to our publications section and click on the Arsenic removal article at http://publications/
Determining water usage is also critical to designing an effective removal system that will have the proper capacity. Key information would include well pump size, well pump flow rate, size of the incoming water line, number of residents in the home, the number of bathrooms, space availability for equipment installation, electrical availability and water discharge location or restrictions, among others.
TRACKING USAGE AFTER SYSTEM INSTALLATION IS CRITICAL
A couple of key components for consideration when designing this type of system include:
- Utilizing a meter to track flow rate and total gallons processed is critical to determine the home’s water demand.
- Gallons used readings also assist in uncovering any potential leaks in the home such as running toilets, which will unnecessarily prematurely deplete the media’s capacity.
Because it is an tasteless, colorless and odorless contaminant, it is particularly important to have two tanks in series in case the first tank is depleted prior to scheduled service with your water treatment company. Service should be scheduled at intervals determined by the water use tracking data accumulated. This combined with appropriate water testing intervals are added safeguards to prevent Arsenic from getting into the treated water entering the home.
In summary, while it may first come as a shock, if you are contemplating buying a home that has Arsenic in the well, you can have a safe, effective system installed to eliminate this problem.