Purification of arsenic contaminated water using ferrihydrite with consideration to current circumstances in Burkina Faso
Ferrihydrite in a suspension has been studied as a solution for purification of arsenic contaminated water. Many development countries, amongst them Burkina Faso, have arsenic in their groundwater and the current methods for purification are too expensive. Measurements have shown extremely high levels of arsenic in the groundwater in several places in Burkina Faso. Since the availability of surface water is limited, the groundwater is still used as drinking water.
A suspension of ferrihydrite has capacity to adsorb arsenic in water due to its chemical characteristics. Small-scale laboratory work with ferrihydrite suspensions has been performed in parallel in Uppsala, Sweden, and Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso. To purify the water with regard to the economical and practical circumstances in Burkina Faso, a column with safety filter was made out of simple materials such as plastic bottles, plastic tubes and glass wool. The contaminated water was flowing upwards through the column to prevent the filter from clogging.
In Uppsala it was discovered that a 1 L ferrihydrite suspension containing 10 g ferrihydrite can adsorb 0.7 g arsenic while it was shaken and centrifuged well. In Ouagadougou it was possible, in the setup, to clean 2 L arsenic contaminated water with the concentration of 100 µg/L. The conclusions from the experiments in this project are that ferrihydrite can adsorb arsenic in contaminated water but that the setup used needs to be further evaluated and developed
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