Arsenic Treatment Technologies for Soil, Waste, and Water
United States Environmental Protection Agency Office of Solid Waste and Emergency Response
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The purpose of this report is to provide a synopsis of the availability, performance, and cost of 13 arsenic treatment technologies for soil, water, and waste. Its intended audience includes hazardous waste site managers; generators and treaters of arsenic-contaminated waste and wastewater; owners and operators of drinking water treatment plants; regulators; and the interested public. There is a growing need for cost-effective arsenic treatment. The presence of arsenic in the environment can pose a risk to human health. Historical and current industrial use of arsenic has resulted in soil and groundwater contamination that may require remediation. Some industrial wastes and wastewaters currently being produced require treatment to remove or immobilize arsenic. In addition, aresenic must be removed from some sources of drinking water before they can be used. Recently the EPA reduced the maximum contaminant lelve (MCL) of arsenic in drinking water from 0.050 mg/L to 0.010 mg/L, effective in 2006. Current and future drinking water and groundwater treatment systems will require better-performing technologies to achieve this lower level. EPA recently prepared an issue paper, Proven Alternatives for Aboveground Treatment of Arsenic in Groundwater, that describes four technologies (precipitation/coprecipitation, adsorption, ion exchange, and membrane filtration) for removing arsenic from water. The paper also discusses special considerations for retrofitting systems to meet the lower arsenic drinking water standard. This information is incorporated in this report, as well as details on emergin approaches, such as phytoremediation and electrokinetics, for addressing arsenic in groundwater. This report is intended to be used as a screening tool for arsenic treatment technologies. It provides descriptions of the theory, design, and operation of the technologies; information on commercial availability and use; performance and cost data, where available; and a discussion of factors affecting effectiveness and cost. As a technology overview document, the information can serve as a starting point for identifying options for arsenic treatment. The feasibility of particular technologies will depend heavily on site-specific factors, and final treatment and remedy decisions will require further analysis, expertise, and possibly treatability studies.