South Dakota Tech News
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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 13, 2004
Contact: Steve Buchholz, Public Information Manager, 394-6082
Arsenic Removal Aim Of Research Project
A research project involving South Dakota Tech and a Rapid City company could result in an inexpensive way to remove arsenic from drinking water.
The project comes at the perfect time. The drinking water standard for arsenic, currently set at 50 parts-per-billion, will be lowered to 10 ppb by 2006 because of arsenic’s links to cancer. In South Dakota, it is estimated that 30, or 8.6 percent, of the state’s public water systems will violate the 10 ppb arsenic standard. The American Water Works Association has estimated the cost of decreasing the arsenic standard to 10 ppb in South Dakota at $8.25 million.
“This research project has the potential to reduce arsenic in drinking water at the source, with the added benefit of low-cost disposal of a stable and benign waste product in ordinary landfills,” Tech’s Dr. Arden Davis said. Davis is chair and professor, Department of Geology and Geological Engineering.
The $40,000 research project, funded by the Environmental Protection Agency, runs through the end of 2004. The Tech collaborators are Davis, Dr. David Dixon, professor, Department of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering, and Dr. Jan Puszynski, dean, College of Materials Engineering and Science. The commercial partner is HydroTech Engineering of Rapid City, a company formed by Dixon, Davis, and former South Dakota Tech professors Dr. Terry Williamson and Dr. Cathleen Webb.
The overall vision and scope of the arsenic-removal research is to develop a commercial treatment suitable for what are called “point of entry” systems and complete field trials on an individual well. The guiding purpose of the research is to develop a low-cost remediation technology for arsenic removal that can be easily adapted to small or rural supply systems. The researchers will conduct the field trial on a single well with 70 ppb arsenic in Keystone.
Arsenic contamination of drinking water is a serious problem in some parts of the United States and is a major health problem internationally.
“A low-cost, effective technology for arsenic removal is needed,” Davis said. “If successful, this project has potential for economic development opportunities for the state since naturally occurring limestone is used in the technology, and South Dakota has abundant limestone resources.”
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