Published: October 29, 2012

    Seeking POU as a Compliance Strategy for Arsenic in Drinking Water

    Arsenic in city water supplies and food supply has been a growing issue in the past few years. Just recently studies were done showing high levels of arsenic in foods like rice, and apple juice. But many wonder why arsenic is so bad, it is after all a naturally occurring element that is normally found combined with sulfur and metals. The industrial boom has also lead to an increased amount of arsenic in our food and water due to manufacturing. Some common sources:

    • Discharge from semiconductor manufacturing
    • Smelters
    • Glass
    • Petroleum refining
    • Wood preservatives (like in mulch)
    • Animal feed additives
    • Erosion of natural deposits

    According to the EPA, arsenic can be responsible for multiple organ failure including skin damage, circulatory system problems and an increased risk of cancer. One of the largest areas of arsenic groundwater contamination is the south-west United States including states like AZ. Currently the state is balancing options on how to deal with a wide-spread issue of arsenic levels above the EPA limit of 10 ppb in city water supplies. A proposed treatment plant for city-wide arsenic removal would cost each homeowner about $80/month. This is a cost the state cannot and will not pass on to the consumer.

    Distribution of documented problems with arsenic in groundwater (>50 µg/L) and related to mining and geothermal activity. http://www.bgs.ac.uk/arsenic/

    What is the solution then? Arizona and the EPA have determined the best solution is POU or Point of Use water treatment. Point of Use allows for home by home treatment for arsenic allowing for much better results than a city-wide treatment system. With aging infrastructure contamination of arsenic downstream from the treatment plant can occur, making the effort of city water treatment useless. Point of Use keeps the costs down for consumers overall and leaves the maintenance and costs to the individual home owner, at a much reduced cost over time.

    Arsenic occurs in water as either Arsenic 5 or Arsenic 3. Arsenic 3 is rare on city water and is much harder to remove. Once chlorine is introduced into the water, oxidation occurs and it converts Arsenic 3 into Arsenic 5 which can be easily filtered out with Reverse Osmosis technology. Pelican has an NSF tested and certified RO system that will deal with Arsenic 5 and remove it from your drinking water. This method is the EPA recommended method of removal. If you are on a well with Arsenic 3, a chlorine injection system is recommended first, then follow it up with an RO to remove the converted arsenic.