Removal of Arsenic From Drinking Water Using a Novel Hybrid Sorbent

EPA Contract Number: 68D03063
Title: Removal of Arsenic From Drinking Water Using a Novel Hybrid Sorbent
Investigators: Saha, Anuj K.
Small Business: VEETech PC
EPA Contact: Manager, SBIR Program
Phase: II
Project Period: October 1, 2003 through December 31, 2004
Project Amount: $224,853
RFA: Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) - Phase II (2003) Recipients Lists
Research Category: Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) , Water and Watersheds , SBIR - Water and Wastewater


VEETech, P.C., in collaboration with Lehigh University, has been developing and testing a polymeric-inorganic hybrid sorbent, or HIX, for the removal of arsenic contaminants from drinking water. Results of the Phase I research project received to date indicate that the HIX media met or exceeded all goals and expectations. The synthesized HIX media exhibited excellent mechanical and structural strength and attrition resistance properties. It did not generate any fines during column operations. The HIX demonstrated superb selectivity and affinity for both forms (III and V) of arsenic contaminants, even in the presence of a high-soluble silica concentration. The number of bed volumes (8,000 to 13,000) treated by the HIX media before any arsenic breakthrough is high. The large bed throughputs indicate that the utilities can avoid in situ regeneration of the HIX media and eliminate all related waste-handling issues. The HIX media, once loaded with arsenic, can be shipped off-site for regeneration and returned to the utility for reuse of up to 50 cycles, thus resulting in trouble-free operation.

Phase I testing consistently demonstrated that the HIX does not require any pre- or post-treatment for effective removal of arsenic from drinking water. The pH and total dissolved solids of the influent and the effluent water essentially remained the same, indicating no alteration in the electrolytic quality. Phase I results show great promise for the HIX to be a simple, adaptable, reliable, low-cost, and high-performance technology with highly desirable environmental benefits. The results also show potential for a superior, commercially viable technology.

The goal of the Phase II research project will be to duplicate the results of Phase I in a field/pilot-scale configuration and ascertain practical costs for treatment. An additional goal will be to demonstrate the removal of radium and hexavalent chromium in the presence of arsenic. Based on the demonstrated attributes, it is anticipated that Phase II results will match or exceed Phase I results.

Although the initial focus of the HIX technology is the removal of arsenic from drinking water, it also can be quite selectively applied to separate a host of heavy metal contaminants from other aqueous streams. Two such streams in which the technology can be beneficially applied include: (1) fly ash and coal pile leachate from electric generating stations, and (2) wash water and drainage from mining operations. Both of those streams contain several heavy metal contaminants (Cu, Zn, Hg, Se, Cd, and Ag) that will require treatment to meet the tightening discharge standards. The simplicity, versatility, and cost of the HIX technology are expected to play a significant role in the environmental compliance of those industries.

Supplemental Keywords:

small business, SBIR, EPA, polymeric-inorganic hybrid sorbent, HIX, arsenic contaminants, drinking water, silica, radium, hexavalent chromium, aqueous streams, heavy metals, metals separation, RFA, Health, Scientific Discipline, PHYSICAL ASPECTS, INTERNATIONAL COOPERATION, Water, POLLUTANTS/TOXICS, Environmental Chemistry, Arsenic, Chemicals, Risk Assessments, Environmental Monitoring, Physical Processes, Water Pollutants, Drinking Water, monitoring, well water, hybrid sorbent, exposure, arsenic monitoring, arsenic removal, human exposure, contaminant removal, drinking water treatment, human health, water treatment, arsenic exposure, human health risk

Progress and Final Reports:

  • Final Report

  • SBIR Phase I:

    Removal of Arsenic From Drinking Water Using a Novel Hybrid Sorbent  | Final Report