Skip to main content

Community-Based Approach for Mitigation of Arsenic Problems: Case Studies in West Bengal, India

  • 640 Accesses

Abstract

The health effects caused by widespread arsenic poisoning through drinking water in Bangladesh and neighbouring states of India, most notably West Bengal, is as catastrophic as any other natural calamity that occurred throughout the world in recent times. Since 1997, over 200 community level arsenic removal units have been installed in India by IIEST, Shibpur. Approximately 200,000 villagers collect arsenic-safe potable water from these units on a daily basis. The units use regenerable adsorbent like activated alumina. Regular maintenance and upkeep of the units are administered by the villagers through formation of villagers’ water committee. The villagers contribute towards the cost of operation through collection of a small water tariff. Upon exhaustion, the adsorbents are regenerated in a central facility by a few trained villagers. The process of regeneration reduces the volume of disposable arsenic-laden solids by nearly two orders of magnitude and allows for the reuse of the adsorbent material which is a much cheaper option. Finally, the arsenic-laden solids are contained on well-aerated coarse sand filters with minimum arsenic leaching. The treatment unit and the social institution for managing the upkeep of the units, both are instrumental for the success of the arsenic remediation program. The reason for overwhelming community participation and support was the short-term as well as long-term benefits brought to the society by the arsenic mitigation program. The technology and associated socio-economic management of the units have matured over the years, generating promise for rapid replication in other severely arsenic-affected countries in Southeast Asia.

Keywords

  • Arsenic
  • Activated alumina
  • Community filter
  • Community participation
  • Arsenic remediation
  • Arsenic waste management

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

Buying options

Chapter
USD   29.95
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • DOI: 10.1007/978-81-322-3745-7_10
  • Chapter length: 19 pages
  • Instant PDF download
  • Readable on all devices
  • Own it forever
  • Exclusive offer for individuals only
  • Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout
eBook
USD   149.00
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • ISBN: 978-81-322-3745-7
  • Instant PDF download
  • Readable on all devices
  • Own it forever
  • Exclusive offer for individuals only
  • Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout
Softcover Book
USD   199.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)
Hardcover Book
USD   199.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)
Fig. 10.1
Fig. 10.2
Fig. 10.3
Fig. 10.4
Fig. 10.5
Fig. 10.6
Fig. 10.7
Fig. 10.8
Fig. 10.9
Fig. 10.10
Fig. 10.11

References

  1. Abernathy CO, Liu YP, Longfellow D, Aposhian HV, Beck B, Fowler B et al (1999) Arsenic: health effects, mechanisms of actions, and research issues. Environ Health Perspect 107(7):593–597

    CAS  CrossRef  PubMed  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

  2. Yoshida T, Yamauchi H, Sun FG (2004) Chronic health effects in people exposed to arsenic via the drinking water: dose-response relationships in review. Toxicol Appl Pharmacol 198(3):243–252

    CAS  CrossRef  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  3. Lindberg AL, Rahman M, Persson LA, Vahte M (2008) The risk of arsenic induced skin lesions in Bangladeshi men and women is affected by arsenic metabolism and the age at first exposure. Toxicol Appl Pharmacol 230(1):9–16

    CAS  CrossRef  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  4. Naujokas MF, Anderson B, Ahsan H, Aposhian HV, Graziano JH, Thompson C et al (2012) The broad scope of health effects from chronic arsenic exposure: update on a worldwide public health problem. Environ Health Perspect 121(3):295–303

    Google Scholar 

  5. Edwards M (1994) Chemistry of arsenic removal during coagulation and Fe-Mn oxidation. J Am Water Works Assoc 76:64–78

    Google Scholar 

  6. Ghosh MM, Yuan JR (1987) Adsorption of inorganic arsenic and organo-arsenicals on hydrous oxides. Environ Prog 3:150–157

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  7. DeMarco MJ, SenGupta AK, Greenleaf JE (2003) Arsenic removal using a polymeric/inorganic hybrid sorbent. Water Res 37:164–176

    CAS  CrossRef  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  8. Driehaus W, Jekel M, Hildebrandt U (1998) Granular ferric hydroxide – a new adsorbent for the removal of arsenic from natural water. J Water SRT Aqua 47:30–35

    CAS  Google Scholar 

  9. Hering J, Chen PY, Wilkie JA, Elimelech M (1997) Arsenic removal from drinking water during coagulation. J Environ Eng ASCE 123:801–807

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  10. Min JM, Hering J (1998) Arsenate sorption by Fe(III)-doped alginate gels. Water Res 32:1544–1552

    CAS  CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  11. Ramana A, SenGupta AK (1992) Removing selenium (IV) and arsenic(V) oxyanions with tailored chelating polymers. J Environ Eng ASCE 118:755–775

    CAS  CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  12. Thirunavukkarasu O, Viraraghavan T, Subramanian K (2003) Arsenic removal from drinking water using iron oxide-coated sand. Water Air Soil Pollut 142:95–111

    CAS  CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  13. Zhang QJ, Pan BC, Chen XQ, Zhang WM, Pan BJ, Zhang QX, Lv L, Zhao XS (2008) Preparation of polymer-supported hydrated ferric oxide based on Donnan membrane effect and its application for arsenic removal. Sci China B 51:379–385

    CAS  CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  14. Lackovic JA, Nikolaidis NP, Dobbs GM (2000) Inorganic arsenic removal by zero-valent iron. Environ Eng Sci 17:29–39

    CAS  CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  15. Bajpai S, Chaudhury M (1999) Removal of arsenic from manganese dioxide coated sand. J Environ Eng ASCE 125:782–784

    CAS  CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  16. An B, Fu Z, Xiong Z, Zhao D, SenGupta AK (2010) Synthesis and characterization of a new class of polymeric ligand exchangers for selective removal of arsenate from drinking water. React Funct Polym 70:497–507

    CAS  CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  17. Dutta PK, Ray AK, Sharma VK, Millero FJ (2004) Adsorption of arsenate and arsenite on titanium dioxide suspensions. J Colloid Interface Sci 278:270–275

    CAS  CrossRef  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  18. Driefhaus W, Seith R, Jekel M (1995) Oxidation of arsenic (III) with manganese oxides in water treatment. Water Res 29:297–305

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  19. Waypa JJ, Elimelech M, Hering J (1997) Arsenic removal by RO and NF membranes. J AmWater Works Assoc 89:102–114

    CAS  Google Scholar 

  20. Suzuki TM, Bomani JO, Matsunaga H, Yokoyama T (2000) Preparation of porous resin loaded with crystalline hydrous zirconium oxide and its application to the removal of arsenic. React Funct Polym 43:165–172

    CAS  CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  21. Su C, Puls RW (2008) Arsenate and arsenite sorption on magnetite: relations to groundwater arsenic treatment using zerovalent iron and natural attenuation. Water Air Soil Pollut 193:65–78

    CAS  CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  22. Ryu J, Choi W (2006) Photocatalytic oxidation of arsenite on TiO2: understanding the controversial oxidation mechanism involving superoxides and the effect of alternative electron acceptors. Environ Sci Technol 40:7034–7039

    CAS  CrossRef  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  23. Sarkar S, Gupta A, Biswas RK, Deb AK, Greenleaf JE, Sen Gupta AK (2005) Well-head arsenic removal units in remote villages of Indian subcontinent: field results and performance evaluation. Water Res 39:2196–2206

    CAS  CrossRef  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  24. Pena M, Meng X, Korfiatis GP, Jing C (2006) Adsorption mechanism of arsenic on nanocrystalline titanium dioxide. Environ Sci Technol 40:1257–1262

    CAS  CrossRef  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  25. Ning RY (2002) Arsenic removal by reverse osmosis. Desalination 143:237–241

    CAS  CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  26. Hossain MA, SenGupta MK, Ahamed S, Rahman MM, Mondal D, Lodh D et al (2005) Ineffectiveness and poor reliability of arsenic removal plants in West Bengal, India. Environ Sci Technol 39(11):4300–4306

    CAS  CrossRef  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  27. Ministry of Water Resources, Government of India, National Water Policy (2002, 1st April) New Delhi. Available at: http://mowr.gov.in/writereaddata/linkimages/nwp20025617515534.pdf. Accessed on 22 July 2013

  28. Sarkar S, Blaney LM, Gupta A, Ghosh D, Sen Gupta AK (2008) Arsenic removal from groundwater and its safe containment in a rural environment: validation of a sustainable approach. Environ Sci Technol 42(12):4268–4273

    CAS  CrossRef  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  29. Sarkar S, Blaney LM, Gupta A, Ghosh D, Sen Gupta AK (2007) Use of ArsenXnp, a hybrid anion exchanger, for arsenic removal in remote villages in the Indian subcontinent. React Funct Polym 67(12):1599–1611

    CAS  CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  30. Sarkar S, Greenleaf JE, Gupta A, Ghosh D, Blaney LM, Bandyopadhyay P et al (2010) Evolution of community-based arsenic removal systems in remote villages in West Bengal, India: assessment of decade-long operation. Environ Sci Technol 44(19):5813–5822

    CAS  Google Scholar 

Download references

Acknowledgment

The arsenic removal initiative that is discussed above was implemented with generous financial support from Water For People, USA. Effort of the members of SATHEE to run the central regeneration center and also the water testing facility is immensely valuable, without which the sustainability of the arsenic removal units would have been nearly impossible.

Author information

Authors and Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Anirban Gupta .

Editor information

Editors and Affiliations

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

Copyright information

© 2017 Springer (India) Pvt. Ltd.

About this chapter

Cite this chapter

Gupta, A., Sarkar, S., Ghosh, D., Maiti, K. (2017). Community-Based Approach for Mitigation of Arsenic Problems: Case Studies in West Bengal, India. In: Nath, K., Sharma, V. (eds) Water and Sanitation in the New Millennium. Springer, New Delhi. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-81-322-3745-7_10

Download citation