Arsenic Poisoning in West Bengal : Betai Report

PERFORMANCE OF ARSENIC REMOVAL PLANT FOR TREATING GROUND WATER WITH COMMUNITY PARTICIPATION

School of Environmental Studies; Jadavpur University, Calcutta is the scientific adviser to a project funded by Japan Government to Chandranath Basu Seva Sangha, village-Betai, Block Tehatta, District Nadia. The goal of the project was:

1. To assess the magnitude of arsenic calamity in Tehatta Block through water analysis.

2. Field survey with medical team to know the extent of people's suffering.

3. Coloring green to safe tube-wells and red to arsenic contaminated tube-wells. Green tube-wells to be rechecked after every 6 months.

4. To find out the possibility of alternative source of drinking water (rainwater, river water, pond water, lake water, dug-well, ring-wells etc. after proper purification) with peoples participation.

5. Arsenic removal from contaminated hand tube-well adopting suitable technology with people's participation.

Although School of Environmental studies at the beginning was advisor to the project but later on, considering the importance and outcome of the project funding was made for this project. Japan Govt. funded Rs. 15 lakhs and SOES also matched almost equal amount.

The project started from October 1997 and still in progress. School of Environmental Studies, Jadavpur University is supervising, advising, analysing water and biological samples; visiting the villages with medical team. So far about 7000 water samples had been analysed with each 1500 hair, nail and 1000 urine. Patients were identified and registered.

The report here will only highlight the suitability of 2 arsenic removal technologies installed in 7 locations in Betai and run with people's participation.


At present two arsenic removal technologies are well known in West Bengal for community use

Chandranath Basu Seva Sangha spent 4 lakhs of rupees for installation of 8 units, 4 from each AIIH&PH, Calcutta and B.E. College, Howrah

A. All India Institute of Hygiene and Public Health (AIIH&PH), Calcutta system - described as oxidation of arsenite followed by coprecipitation, where bleaching powder, aluminium sulfate are in use in a hand pump attached Model [for details of the technology: National Workshop on Removal of Arsenic from Drinking Water, 19th and 20th December 1997 (Background Materials), Sponsored by: World Health Organization, Conducted by: All India Institute of Hygiene and Public Health, Calcutta and PHED, Govt. of West Bengal]. About Rs. 40,000 is required for building each unit. At the beginning AIIHPH people came for building and installed one unit but we made subsequent units.

B. The system developed by Environmental Engineering Laboratory, Civil Engineering Department, Bengal Engineering College, Howrah 711103. In this system aluminium oxide is in use as adsorbent for arsenic removal in hand pump attached model [detailed flow sheet diagram are available from National Workshop on Removal of Arsenic from Drinking Water, 19th and 20th December 1997 (Background Materials), Sponsored by: World Health Organization, Conducted by: All India Institute of Hygiene and Public Health, Calcutta and PHED, Govt. of West Bengal]. The cost of each unit is Rs. 60,000. B.E College technicians came with the units and installed. One technical person also visited sites about once a month to observe the problem of each unit.

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