Canadian Consulting Engineer

Water for People wins award for sustainable technology for removing arsenic

A technology for removing arsenic from potable water in villages in India has won Water for People a prestigious Gr...

April 12, 2007   Canadian Consulting Engineer

A technology for removing arsenic from potable water in villages in India has won Water for People a prestigious Grainger Award. The Grainger Awards are held by the U.S. National Academy of Engineering.
Water for People is a non-profit organization based in Denver. It shared the $200,000 silver prize with Lehigh University, whose researchers helped developed the sustainable system.
The technology involves hand-pumping well water into a fixed bed column where it passes through activated alumina or a hybrid anion exchanger (HAIX) to remove the arsenic. The water then passes through a chamber of graded gravel to remove particulates, after which it is fit for drinking.
The units are installed on top of tainted wells in 160 locations throughout the West Bengal region, providing water to nearly 170,000 villagers. The units are manufactured solely using indigenous materials and villagers are responsible for their upkeep and day to day operation. The active media are regenerated for reuse and the sludge is contained in an environmentally safe manner.
The Grainger gold award worth $1 million went to a professor at George Mason University for a household treatment technology, and bronze award worth $100,000 went to Procter and Gamble for PUR, a coagulation and flocculation agent that removes bacterial and chemical pollutants from drinking water.


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