One of the largest concerns for residential water well owners across the globe is discovering arsenic in well water.
Arsenic is a naturally occurring element that is often found in groundwater or in soil, regardless of location.
Arsenic is also a byproduct of coal burning, mining, and copper smelting and is sometimes combined with other elements to make crop insecticides, antibiotics, or to preserve wood.
The concentration of arsenic will vary based on the geographic location.
However, when discovered in higher concentration levels, it must be treated using a few proven methods as approved by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the US Department of Agriculture.
There are a few facts about arsenic that are important to understand in order to fully realize how the methods listed below help to remove it from the end water supply.
It’s also critical to understand that there are professional residential well water testing procedures and specially trained companies that can annually test for arsenic in your well water in Phoenix.
First – What is arsenic and how is it harmful?
Many of us have heard of arsenic but may not know exactly what it is and how it’s harmful to humans.
Essentially, there are two forms that arsenic takes.
In areas that are shallow, where the oxygen concentration is high, arsenic exists as arsenate. In deep water areas with less oxygen, it’s referred to as arsenite.
Arsenic poisoning or arsenicosis is the medical condition that some people may be diagnosed with through the injection of higher levels of Arsenic.
This naturally occurring element does not give off any smell or flavor, and is often only detected through specialized equipment.
Long term high-level exposure to arsenic, which is considered a human carcinogen, can cause serious health problems.
In addition to being linked with various forms of cancer, arsenic has also been associated with diabetes and vascular system problems in humans.
Second—How does arsenic get into well water?
Many people wonder how and where arsenic enters the water supply in the first place.
This can happen from agricultural or industrial pollution, or it can enter the water supply from natural deposits underground.
Many experts believe that naturally occurring arsenic can dissolve from certain formations of rocks when there is a significant drop in the ground water level.
Industrial activity also releases large amounts of arsenic into the air, which is removed from the air through precipitation.
Once arsenic hits the ground it can make its way from surface water into the ground water supply.
Private wells can experience high levels of arsenic due to the past use of certain types of herbicides or fertilizers, or from industrial waste.
Faulty well construction can also contribute to arsenic in the well.
Third – What are the best ways to remove Arsenic from a well water supply?
Arsenic cannot be removed by boiling water or using bleach disinfection.
There are generally three proven methods for removing arsenic from standard water supply and well water systems.
Each of these items listed below have different pros and cons, so it is best to always consult with a well water testing company in Phoenix to pick a solution best suited for your individual application.
Anion Exchange Systems for Removing Arsenic
A growing type of system for removing arsenic is the Anion exchange system.
This uses a chemical or physical process to exchange ions as water passes through a resin bed or filtration system.
These types of systems soften water, remove manganese and iron, and can be installed prior to the water entering a home’s water supply or at the source of the individual spout. The resin bed or filter is charged with chloride ions derived from salt that has dissolved.
They typically require very little maintenance but require additional salt to be added frequently.
Reverse Osmosis Systems
Typically the most cost-effective way of removing arsenic from water is the reverse osmosis system. RO (as it’s commonly called) works by forcing water through a special membrane (filter) that has microscopic pores to allow smaller particles through and trapping the larger molecules (like iron, chromium and arsenic).
Most RO systems are incredibly efficient in trapping arsenic and other potentially harmful natural metals, and in most cases remove up to 95% of them from the water supply.
Typically these systems are installed at the source of the water spout, underneath cabinets or sinks.
They are very user friendly and require virtually no maintenance. Additionally, there is no need to add chemicals or salt.
Reverse osmosis systems are also energy efficient because the system uses no electricity, so you can get clean, great-tasting water for pennies on the gallon.
Iron Oxide Filter Systems
The last of the best methods for removing arsenic from water well systems is the iron oxide filtration systems.
Essentially these are the latest and greatest methods for lowering arsenic in drinking water.
It is very similar to carbon filters; but instead of carbon, the material is iron oxide.
They are housed in small, in-line filtration media cartridges and need to be replaced on regularly scheduled intervals.
They are often installed inside the plumbing line or attached directly to a water supply outlet, such as a faucet or showerhead.
Preventative Maintenance to Avoid Arsenic Exposure
If you think you might have a problem with the quality of your drinking water, it’s important to contact a professional to come out and do water testing so you know exactly what your family is ingesting.
Your water should also be tested regularly as a part of your annual well inspection.
When it comes to removing arsenic from well water, there are several options to choose from. The best way to determine which is best suited for you is to contact a Phoenix well water testing company and ask them to provide recommendations.
They can tell you the pros and cons about each system so you can make an informed decision.
Do you need a residential well inspection? Call Pump It Up Pump Services, Inc. and let one of our professionals answer your water well questions. Call 623-582-5069 now!