Removal of Arsenic from Groundwater Utilizing a Semicircular Section Tubular Photo-Reactor in Continuous Mode Operation

To meet the drinking water consumption demands of people living in tiny rural villages impacted by arsenic poisoning, a viable low-cost treatment system with adequate capacity was created. The system is based on a tubular photo-reactor with a semicircular section that has been built, characterised, and used to treat groundwater contaminated with As (V) using the solar oxidation and removal of arsenic (SORAS) technique, which uses ferrous and citrate salts. The solar concentrator was constructed using recyclable waste materials such as fluorescent lamp glass tubes and 6” PVC pipes that had been chopped in half and coated in aluminium foil. In the reactor, solar radiation is concentrated to 2.8 times its natural intensity. Batch irradiation testing followed by controlled agitation (shear rate = 30–33 s-1; 20 min agitation duration) demonstrated that the photo-reactor enhances the production of settleable floccules (Dp > 0.5 mm) when compared to a fluorescent light glass tube alone and a 2-liter PET container. c The needed irradiation times for floccule production in the photoreactor, fluorescent lamp tube, and PET bottle were 15, 25, and 60 minutes, respectively. Continuous flow experiments using a photo-reactor with a photo-collection area of 0.9 m2 and a hydraulic retention time (equal to the irradiation period) of 15 minutes demonstrated that when the solution is mildly agitated, good settleability floccules form almost immediately (33 s-1). An As (V) removal efficiency of 98.36 percent was reached with a final concentration of 16.5 g/L in decanted water. According to these data, the photo-reactor can treat around 130 L/m2 in a 5-hour period at UVA irradiation intensities of 50-70 W/m2. This daily capacity can provide clean water to a four-person family at a consumption rate of 30-35 L/person/day, which is normal in Bolivia’s rural areas.

Author (S) Details

Ramiro Escalera
Centro de Investigaciones en Procesos Industriales, Universidad Privada Boliviana, Victor Ustariz Ave., km 6.5, Cochabamba, Bolivia.

Omar Ormachea
Centro de Investigaciones Ópticas, Universidad Privada Boliviana, Victor Ustariz Ave., km 6.5, Cochabamba, Bolivia.

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