2008 Progress Report: Containment of Highly Concentrated Arsenic-laden Spent Regenerant on the Indian Subcontinent

EPA Grant Number: SU833759
Title: Containment of Highly Concentrated Arsenic-laden Spent Regenerant on the Indian Subcontinent
Investigators: Sengupta, Arup K. , Chatterjee, Prasun , Freedman, Elliot , Ghosh, Debabrata , Gupta, Anirban , Lin, Jin Cheng
Current Investigators: Sengupta, Arup K. , Alam, Morshed , Blaney, Lee M. , Chatterjee, Prasun , Freedman, Elliot , Ghosh, Debabrata , Greenleaf, John , Gupta, Anirban , Lin, Jin Cheng , Sarkar, Sudipta , Smith, Ryan
Institution: Lehigh University , Bengal Engineering & Science University
EPA Project Officer: Nolt-Helms, Cynthia
Phase: II
Project Period: September 1, 2007 through May 31, 2009
Project Period Covered by this Report: September 1, 2007 through August 31,2008
Project Amount: $75,000
RFA: P3 Awards: A National Student Design Competition for Sustainability Focusing on People, Prosperity and the Planet - Phase 2 (2007) Recipients Lists
Research Category: Nanotechnology , Pollution Prevention/Sustainable Development , P3 Challenge Area - Water , P3 Awards , Sustainability


Wide-scale arsenic poisoning in drinking water of a large number of people leaving in Indian Subcontinent is a cause for deep concern. There have been numerous successful researches for developing arsenic selective adsorbent media and many of them are at place providing people with arsenic safe water as a relief from arsenic contamination and related sufferings. However, in terms of sustainable development, the major environmental challenge lies not in removing dissolved arsenic from contaminated groundwater but in attaining safe, long-term disposal of arsenic-laden water treatment residuals. Safe disposal and containment of wastes would reduce the amount of toxic waste generated, prevent leaching of arsenic into soil and groundwater supplies, and allow for a more secure public. The project aims at providing people with a sustainable arsenic removal technology which not only provides arsenic-safe drinking water for the present generation but also ensures minimization of chances of further contamination from the wastes generated by the process, thereby making  the process sustainable also for the future generations. At the same time, the project aims at creating new jobs that would eventually adds to the prosperity of the villagers. The specific tasks of the project are:

  1. Install approximately 25 additional well-head arsenic removal units in villages of West Bengal, India. 
  2. Implement a second central regeneration facility (SRF) towards optimization of regeneration efficiency.
  3. Install perforated PVC pipes within coarse sand filter adjacent to all the treatment units in order to facilitate air transport within the filter’s pore space which shall allow maintaining oxidizing atmosphere inside the filters. This will ensure effective leaching-free storage of arsenic-concentrated solid wastes obtained as a water treatment residual (WTR).  
  4. Develop better relations with government agencies towards initiation of large-scale sustainable disposal options for hazardous arsenic-laden waste products
  5. Begin to expand project implementation in other countries, specifically Mexico .  

Progress Summary:

It is too early to report the findings of the project. But the key achievements so far are:

  1. Validation of regenerability of the hybrid ion exchanger so that the material can be used for multiple cycles.
  2. Development of co-precipitation method to transform the spent regenerant innocuous and containment of toxic and highly concentrated waste arsenic in a small-volume solid waste.
  3. Successful demonstration of easy and simple way of storage of arsenic-contaminated solid sludge on top of an aerated coarse sand filter so as to avoid any further leaching of arsenic to the surface water.
  4. Installation of PVC aeration devices inside the existing coarse sand filters associated with each arsenic removal unit in the field to prevent any further arsenic leaching, thereby making the whole arsenic removal process sustainable.
  5. Installation of twelve community level arsenic removal units in the remote villages of West Bengal, India to provide safe drinking water for the affected people. Approximately 12,000 people are getting benefitted from these new units.
  6. The installation of the second regeneration facility is under way.
  7. A few secondary job generations in the form of caretakers and the water-carriers associated with the newly installed units.

All the project related activities are as per the schedule and there have been no significant delays. The specific goals and objectives are also, at this point, strongly appears to be realizable.

Journal Articles:

No journal articles submitted with this report: View all 2 publications for this project

Progress and Final Reports:

Original Abstract
Final Report

P3 Phase I:

Containment of Highly Concentrated Arsenic-laden Spent Regenerant on the Indian Subcontinent  | Final Report