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Arsenic Discovery Could Lead To Cleaner Drinking Water

Scott McGuffin

Arsenic in drinking water supplies is a worldwide problem. A discovery by scientists at the University of Oregon could lead to a new way to remove the toxic chemical, making groundwater supplies safer for communities.

Call it a cleanse. Or detoxification. That’s basically the process happening in groundwater, identified by University of Oregon geology professor Qusheng Jin.

He tested well-water in Creswell, Oregon, and found microbes are naturally transforming toxic water-born arsenic into a gas that can rise and get trapped in the soil, where it’s less of a problem.

“In groundwater, most people assume this process is not significant or does not exist.”

Jin says the process is significant. With the use of ethanol to to speed up the microbes’ work, he thinks it could eventually provide a cost-effective way to lower arsenic levels in drinking water.
Jin's research is published in the journal Nature Geoscience

Credit University of Oregon
Map of arsenic test area in the Willamette Valley.

Copyright 2015 Earthfix

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