The Characterization and Implementation of an Enhanced Activated Alumina for the Removal of Dissolved Arsenic at the Point of Entry

EPA Grant Number: SU832480
Title: The Characterization and Implementation of an Enhanced Activated Alumina for the Removal of Dissolved Arsenic at the Point of Entry
Investigators: Kney, Arthur D. , Morton, Samuel , Mylon, Steven
Current Investigators: Kney, Arthur D. , Baker, Andy , Battaglia, Mark , Buettner, Kate , Eggleston, Amanda , Escobar, Veronica , Fowler, Samira , Goodwin, Meghan , Herchenroder, Katie , Moore, Christine , Morton, Samuel , Mylon, Steven , Ortolano, Trevor , Vanzler, Lee
Institution: Lafayette College
EPA Project Officer: Nolt-Helms, Cynthia
Phase: I
Project Period: September 30, 2005 through May 30, 2006
Project Amount: $10,000
RFA: P3 Awards: A National Student Design Competition for Sustainability Focusing on People, Prosperity and the Planet (2005) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: P3 Challenge Area - Materials & Chemicals , Pollution Prevention/Sustainable Development , P3 Awards , Sustainability


Technical Challenge: Nearly 5.5% of the water systems in the United States are expected to exceed the new 10 ppb arsenic maximum contaminant level. Many of these systems are in small communities that require an affordable means of meeting these arsenic standards. Additionally, groundwater supplies may contain two inorganic arsenic species, As(III), the dominant species, and As(V). Because of its chemistry, As(III) is much more difficult to remove from water than As(V).

Innovative Design Approach: While activated alumina has been shown to remove up to 95% of As(V), it is not an effective As(III) sorbent. At Lafayette College, faculty and students across disciplines have worked to develop a low-cost and reliable point-of-entry technology to effectively remove forms of inorganic arsenic from groundwater sources of drinking water. The technology is a composite sorbent, iron-enhanced activated alumina (IEAA). IEAA has proven to successfully remove arsenic to below 10 ppb. The work proposed in this study is divided into two parts: (1) the optimization the IEAA and (2) the design and construction of a working small-scale system for removing arsenic from drinking water.

Relationship to P3: Arsenic groundwater contamination is a global concern as evidenced by the millions who suffer from arsenic poisoning. The promise of this IEAA technology is its reliability and low cost, both of which are required by the many communities worldwide that are currently seeking relief from arsenic-contaminated groundwater in a sustainable manner.

Evaluation and Implementation: One student team will repeat IEAA column sorption tests and material characterization tests to further validate previous results. Another student team will use state-of-the-art spectroscopic methods including synchrotron-based techniques at the National Synchrotron Light Source to study the surface of the IEAA and the surface mechanisms involved in the removal of As(III) and As(V) from source water. Arsenic analysis of the residual material will be evaluated. Results of all tests will be used by another student team to design and build a pilot system for arsenic remediation.

P3 as an Educational Tool: This project brings together students and faculty across different disciplines to work collaboratively to address current global environmental issues and their solutions. Regardless of the focus of each team of students, sustainability as it relates to people, prosperity and the planet will be stressed. This experience will be enhanced through both curricular and extracurricular activities through the Lafayette student club, the Society of Environmental Scientists and Engineers.

Publications and Presentations:

Publications have been submitted on this project: View all 3 publications for this project

Supplemental Keywords:

arsenic, ion exchange, sorption, iron oxide, activated alumina,, RFA, Scientific Discipline, INTERNATIONAL COOPERATION, Water, POLLUTANTS/TOXICS, Environmental Chemistry, Arsenic, Environmental Monitoring, Water Pollutants, Environmental Engineering, iron enhanced activated alumina, drinking water, point of use treatment, arsenic removal, remediation, control technologies, point of entry

Progress and Final Reports:

  • Final Report