Final Report: 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, developed, synthesized, and field pilot-tested a family of novel polymeric-inorganic hybrid exchangers. The goal of this research project was to demonstrate the scale-up and viability of the HIX media for removing arsenic in real-life water utility applications. Other goals include demonstration for simplicity of operation, regeneration, and management of regenerant wastes.

Phase II also focused on the commercialization aspect of the technology, such as the unit cost of HIX, operation and maintenance costs for treated water, and costs for waste disposal. Another element of Phase II was to define a “niche marketplace,” where the HIX media and the accompanying systems can be sold. Based on a market study, the niche marketplace was defined as the small- and medium-sized rural water utilities serving approximately 20 million people.

Summary/Accomplishments (Outputs/Outcomes):

Known as HIX, the novel hybrid exchangers were geared primarily to remove soluble arsenic from drinking water source streams. The developmental phase revealed, however, that the HIX also can remove multiple co-contaminants such as radium, uranium, and chromium from aqueous streams.

Phase I lasted for approximately 10 months (October 2002 to July 2003), while Phase II lasted for about 15 months (October 2003 to December 2004). Two field pilot tests were conducted at a small- and medium-sized water utility with elevated (higher than 10 ppb) levels of arsenic. The small-sized utility is located in the town of Rosharon, TX, and the medium-sized utility is located in the city of Andrews, TX. Although Rosharon serves about 1,000 people, Andrews serves about 10,000 people.

Both of the field pilot studies exceeded the primary goal for technology demonstration in terms of scale up, robustness, and effluent qualities. The studies demonstrated that the HIX can be regenerated and reused in an efficient manner, and the regenerant wastes can be converted to nonhazardous waste form. The studies further demonstrated that the HIX columns are simple to operate and maintain and can treat large (greater than 15,000, and up to 40,000) bed volumes of water before breakthrough.


The combined efforts of Phase I and II demonstrated great promise and potential for the HIX media and accompanying systems to address the challenges of the water utilities meeting the new arsenic compliance standards. The robustness of the media, simplicity and low cost of operation, and the ability to withstand the variations in influent water chemistry can make this technology a “true winner” in the crowded field of arsenic removal.

Supplemental Keywords:

Arsenic removal, hybrid sorbent, HIX, drinking water, water utilities, radium, uranium, chromium, regenerant waste, EPA, small business, SBIR,, 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, arsenic exposure, human health, water treatment, drinking water treatment, contaminant removal, heavy metals

SBIR Phase I:

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