Comparing mixed-media and conventional slow-sand filters for arsenic removal from groundwater

Karolina M. Śmiech, Aize Tolsma, Tímea Kovács, Vlade Dalbosco, Kamuran Yasadi, Leo Groendijk, Luewton L.F. Agostinho*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


Arsenic contamination of groundwater is a major public health concern worldwide. The problem has been reported mainly in southern Asia and, especially, in Bangladesh. Slow-sand filters (SSF) augmented with iron were proven to be a simple, low-cost and decentralized technique for the treatment of arsenic-contaminated sources. In this research, three pilot-scale SSF (flowrate 6 L·h−1) were tested regarding their capability of removing arsenic from groundwater in conditions similar to those found in countries like Bangladesh (70 µg As(III) L−1, 26 ◦C). From the three, two filters were prepared with mixed media, i.e., sand mixed with corrosive iron matter (CIM filter) and iron-coated sand (ICS filter), and a third conventional SSF was used as a reference. The results obtained showed that the CIM filter could remove arsenic below the World Health Organization (WHO) guideline concentration of 10 µg·L−1, even for inlet concentrations above 150 µg·L−1. After 230 days of continuous operation the arsenic concentration in the effluent started increasing, indicating depletion or saturation of the CIM layer. The effluent arsenic concentration, however, never exceeded the Bangladeshi standard of 50 µg·L−1 throughout the whole duration of the experiments.
Original languageEnglish
Article number119
JournalWater (Switzerland)
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 29 Jan 2018


  • Arsenic
  • Corrosive iron matter
  • Groundwater
  • Iron-coated sand
  • Slow sand filer

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