"Arsenic in the Water Becomes Arsenic in the Bloodstream - Through Shower or Tap"
by larry couture
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What do New River, AZ, Butte, MT, Lewiston ID and Cambridge, MN all have in common? High levels of arsenic in their groundwater, which is found in both residential and commercial wells, and the forms of increasing scrutiny by both homeowners and regulators.

Arsenic can be naturally occurring as the result of industrial processes such as mining. For water treatment purposes arsenic is typed by EPA/ETL labs as either A3 or A5 and can predict the success or failure in water treatment strategies.

The treatment strategies have evolved since the mid 1990's when companies first attacked arsenic as a contaminant. "Whole house reverse osmosis proceeded by a three tank well water filter system and a water softener was our only treatment option," Bob Yonke, SR VP at a national water treatment company. "We wasted more water than we treated," he added.

Yonke indicated that in 1999 the first ion exchange resins became available and arsenic wells could be treated with well owners keeping a reservoir of salt full, identical to a water softener - Regeneration rates were set high in the interests of safety and if the well had high calcium or iron, 200-500ppm, sodium went forward into the home, making both the shower and drinking water problematic. Many customers still chose the whole house reverse osmosis method to avoid the salty water.

The problem with the whole house RO approach to arsenic is the failure to clean or replace the membranes annually (a $1000 to $2000 expense) results in higher concentrations of arsenic initially accumulating in the membranes which very quickly became part of the house hold water. "We had one customer that ignored our annual change out of the membranes advice and found over 1 part per trillion arsenic in the bloodstreams of both of their children, ages 3 and 7," said Joe Cantin, Regional Manger at a local water treatment company. Fortunately both children are fine but wound up going through expensive blood chelation therapy, according to Cantin.

In 2003 the first arsenic wells were treated without any salt-based ion exchange and without the financial and environmental issues associated with reverse osmosis water treatment. The sites were so successful that the filter media tank option was included at no charge.

Now a 150 item EPA/ETL water analysis from Watercheck in Ypsilanti MI to identify contaminants that threaten human health and identify the maintenance requirements of the system are required. Generally this is fifteen minutes every other month.

In addition to arsenic, particular attention is paid to ECOLI bacteria, MTBE (a gasoline additive), lead and about 80 volatile organic chemicals (VOC's) that often go untreated in the conventional water treatment approach of water softeners, under-sink RO's and an iron filter.

The primary technology involves natural oxygen and copper ionization with a set of simple anode chambers driven by DC voltage electrolysis. The primary benefit with the ionization and oxygenation system is that calcium and iron are addressed without the use of salt or chemical. The system converts calcium carbonate (CACO3) to calcium bicarbonate (CA2H(CO3)) which gives homeowners all of the benefits of water softeners and iron filters without the negatives.

Systems are manufactured for municipal, well water and cistern water and operate at flow rates of 5 GPM to 400 GPM. Every well water system is required to go through the 150 item analysis and nearly all accessories needed are included in the initial quotation.

"Those customers with arsenic are required to purchase a semi annual after test so they don't absorb arsenic into their bloodstream in the shower," Yonke emphasized.

Contact the Author

Larry is the founder and CEO of ECOsmarte.

larry couture

larryc@ecosmarte.com
Site: http://www.ecosmarte.com

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