Laterite as a low-cost adsorbent in a sustainable decentralized filtration system to remove arsenic from groundwater in Vietnam

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Science of the Total Environment, 2020, 699
Issue Date:
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© 2019 Elsevier B.V. In the Red River Delta, Vietnam, arsenic (As) contamination of groundwater is a serious problem where more than seventeen million people are affected. Millions of people in this area are unable to access clean water from the existing centralized water treatment systems. They also cannot afford to buy expensive household water filters. Similar dangerous situations exist in many other countries and for this reason there is an urgent need to develop a cost-effective decentralized filtration system using new low-cost adsorbents for removing arsenic. In this study, seven locally available low-cost materials were tested for arsenic removal by conducting batch adsorption experiments. Of these materials, a natural laterite (48.7% Fe2O3 and 18.2% Al2O3) from Thach That (NLTT) was deemed the most suitable adsorbent based on arsenic removal performance, local availability, stability/low risk and cost (US$ 0.10/kg). Results demonstrated that the adsorption process was less dependent on the solution pH from 2.0 to 10. The coexisting anions competed with As(III) and As(V) in the order, phosphate > silicate > bicarbonate > sulphate > chloride. The adsorption process reached a fast equilibrium at approximately 120–360 min, depending on the initial arsenic concentrations. The Langmuir maximum adsorption capacities of NLTT at 30 °C were 512 μg/g for As(III) and 580 μg/g for As(V), respectively. Thermodynamic study conducted at 10 °C, 30 °C, and 50 °C suggested that the adsorption process of As(III) and As(V) was spontaneous and endothermic in nature. A water filtration system packed with NLTT was tested in a childcare centre in the most disadvantaged community in Ha Nam province, Vietnam, to determine arsenic removal performance in an operation lasting six months. Findings showed that the system reduced total arsenic concentration in groundwater from 122 to 237 μg/L to below the Vietnam drinking water standard of 10 μg/L.
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