fredericton nb

Water Filtration and Treatment – Arsenic Removal

Arsenic in drinking water is a big concern and many are looking for water treatment and filtration solutions to remove this harmful contaminant from their well water.

The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) classifies arsenic in drinking water as a known cause of cancer. As a naturally occurring mineral, there are known hot spots throughout the Atlantic Provinces (New Brunswick, Nova Scotia in particular) where drilled wells have levels that exceed the Health Advisory Limits (HAL) of 0.01 mg/L.

Removal Options

For proper removal, it is extremely important that a thorough water analysis be conducted to determine what other contaminants are present in the water. There are many factors that will determine the effectiveness of the arsenic treatment. Variables include:

Type of Arsenic:  Arsenite (As[III]) Vs.  Arsenate (As[V]). Because Arsenite has a neutral charge, standard Ion exchange methods will prove to be ineffective at removing this form of arsenic. Pre oxidation techniques may be used to convert the arsenite to arsenate which in many cases allow for a high conversion and removal rate.

Competing IONs: Most resins have a high affinity for other compounds such as Nitrates and Sulphates, which will reduce the reduction performance of arsenic. In these situations we have found it best to use both ION exchange resin in combination with  Adsorbent Media.

Additional Contaminants: For water supplies with high arsenic levels, the reduction of other present contaminants, such as Iron, Hardness and Manganese, must be considered. These contaminants will drastically affect the ability of ION exchange resin (Anion Resin) and must be removed if the levels are too high. Also, depending on the technology selected, pH must also be considered as it will impact the life expectancy and removal rates of GFO or adsorbent medias.


Once a system is installed, ensure the water quality is being monitored by frequent testing. Some technologies, if improperly maintained, can cause the post treatment water to have arsenic levels higher than the pretreatment level. For non regenerable media, testing will also indicate when the point of exhaustion has been reached. If using non regenerable solutions only, it is recommended that duplex filters be installed in a Lead-Lag configuration and testing be conducted between the two filters.  


There is much to be considered before choosing a system to treat for Arsenic in drinking water. There are many options and combinations of water filtration equipment for arsenic reduction. Choose a qualified and experienced company that is aware of the many options and can thoroughly explain their recommendation. There is no one size fits all water filtration solution when it comes to treating arsenic. Make sure a water quality guarantee is put in writing and check to see if all equipment and water treatment media is certified by NSF, WQA and UL. 

Boil Orders and Drinking Water

We don’t realize how convenient it is to open a tap and pour a glass of water until we have a boil order put in place. It can be a nuisance to have to boil our water or purchase bottled water but don’t forget how fortunate we are to have municipal water supplies that are closely monitored and a warning system put in place to protect us from contamination in the rare event this happens.

Here are a few reminders to keep in mind in the event your water supply is under  a boil order:

·         Don’t take risks! There is a reason why the boil order is on. Don’t assume it is ok.

·         Do not use the water for washing fruits and vegetables.

·         Use bleach with no fragrance or additional chemicals to sterilize water. 1/8 teaspoon per gallon of water will provide you with safe water for washing and other uses.

·         When washing hands, it is good practice to use alcohol based hand sanitizer after washing.

·         Once the boil order is lifted, flush your lines adequately to ensure any potentially contaminated water is purged out of the system.

Bacteria Filtration

With advances in filtration and the proven disinfection technology of Ultraviolet Sterilization, homeowners and renter alike have more options than ever before for protecting their water supply from bacterial contamination. These technologies can bring peace of mind and convenience when a boil order is in place. With NSF approvals for bacteria, virus’ and cysts, we would all do well to at least explore these options to ensure safe drinking water for ourselves and our families.

Ultrafiltration (UF) – Uses hollow fiber technology to mechanically filter out dirt, sediment, bacteria, virus’ and many other contaminants. Filters as low as 0.01 microns. Some units are NSF or WQA approved.

Ultraviolet Light (UV) – Uses a high dose of UV rays to scramble the DNA of the bacteria preventing it from reproducing.  The bacteria eventually dies off on its own and poses no threat.

Microbiological Barrier (MB) Carbon Blocks – Using advanced technology, these point of use filters (typically installed under the sink) are extremely effective at bacteria removal. Boasting a 99.9999% reduction of bacteria, 99.99% viral reduction and 99.95% protozoan cyst reduction, MB block technology will be a technology of choice for those wanting a hybrid filter. Not only will it give you sediment, chlorine, taste and odor claims, but it will ultimately give you safe water.

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