Use of Bone Char for the Removal of Arsenic and Uranium from Groundwater at the Pine Ridge ReservationEPA Grant Number: SU834713
Title: Use of Bone Char for the Removal of Arsenic and Uranium from Groundwater at the Pine Ridge Reservation
Investigators: Werth, Charles J , Parker, Kimberly M , Llewellyn, Alex , Curren, Bridget , Maraccini, Peter
Current Investigators: Werth, Charles J , Parker, Kimberly M , Dam, Emily Van , Miller, Adam , Llewellyn, Alex , Feeney, Connor , Steege, Eden , Wang, Hanting , Becraft, Jacob , Freeck, Jason , Morton, Jeremy , Nell, Marika , Salvatore, Michelle , Nguyen, Tien-Hung , Genchanok, Yana
Institution: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign , Oglala Lakota College
EPA Project Officer: Page, Angela
Project Period: August 15, 2010 through August 14, 2011
Project Amount: $10,000
RFA: P3 Awards: A National Student Design Competition for Sustainability Focusing on People, Prosperity and the Planet (2010) RFA Text | Recipients Lists
Research Category: P3 Challenge Area - Materials & Chemicals , P3 Challenge Area - Water , Pollution Prevention/Sustainable Development , P3 Awards , Sustainability
The Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota is the poorest reservation in the country. Some homes on the reservation receive treated municipal water, but many residents rely on private wells. A USGS report and our own preliminary results indicate significant levels of arsenic and uranium are in groundwater at the reservation. A variety of methods are available to remove these metals from drinking water, but most are relatively expensive, require an expert to maintain, and/or don't make use of indigenous materials. One novel and sustainable approach to remove arsenic and uranium from drinking water involves using adsorbent biomaterials, such as bone char. The objective of this work is to determine if bone char can be used to efficiently remove arsenic and uranium from groundwater at the Pine Ridge Reservation.
Materials from local cattle operations will be used to make bone char, and site-specific groundwater will be obtained for testing. While bone char has been shown to efficiently adsorb arsenic and uranium from water, the efficiency of removal depends on local water conditions including metal oxidation state, and bone char characteristics. Therefore, site-specific materials must be evaluated.
The student project team will work with faculty advisors at UIUC, advisors at Oglala Lakota College, and with residents of the Pine Ridge Reservation. Through this collaborative effort, we expect to identify filter materials including bone char that will effectively remove arsenic and uranium from groundwater at the Pine Ridge Reservation. We also expect that these results will contribute to a larger effort by the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) WaterCAMPWS Lakota Water Project, which seeks to develop an inexpensive, easy-to-use technology to remove arsenic and uranium from the groundwater used by the residents at the Pine Ridge Reservation.