Filtering Arsenic from Well Water

 Min read
March 14, 2022

If you’re dealing with a well, odds are that your water is not completely free of debris and sediment, and while some things may be harmless, there are certain contaminants that can have adverse health impacts, such as arsenic. 

Understanding where exactly arsenic comes from and how it ends up in well water is important for realizing why it’s something you want to take seriously. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, arsenic occurs naturally in rocks and soil. When it comes to pulling water from the earth, it’s pretty simple to see how a well could end up with concentrations of arsenic inside it.

There are a couple of ways that arsenic can enter a water supply. Natural deposits in the earth can find their way into it. Human interference in the form of industrial and agricultural pollution can also lead to problems. A belief exists that arsenic dissolves out of specific rock formations when there is a significant drop in groundwater levels. There are some industries in the U.S. that actually release thousands of pounds of arsenic into the environment every year which remain in the environment for quite some time. Rain, snow, and gradual settling all lead to arsenic being removed from the air. Once on the ground, arsenic can and will slowly enter groundwater.

According to the World Health Organization, in the short term, arsenic in drinking water can lead to vomiting, abdominal pain, and diarrhea. Over time, someone may start to notice tingling, muscle cramping, and in the worst of cases, exposure to arsenic could lead to death.

The long-term effects of being exposed to arsenic in drinking water can be very severe, and in a number of cases, people will notice changes in their skin. Pigmentation changes, skin lesions and hard patches that appear on the hands and feet can all be signs of long-term exposure to arsenic in drinking water. Unfortunately, all of these things could end up being a sign of cancer. Some other health problems that could arise due to long-term exposure include developmental problems, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and pulmonary disease.

With all of these things in mind, it’s clear that arsenic is nothing to mess around with, and if you suspect that it may be present in your drinking water, you’ll definitely want your water tested. If that test shows there is arsenic present, there are some options available for eliminating it.

The CDC points to a few different options out there for removing arsenic from drinking water. The systems that could be put in place include reverse osmosis, ultra-filtration, distillation, and ion exchange. When it comes to filtration methods, Rusco can certainly help you out!

We've talked before about reverse osmosis and how that system could be of benefit when trying to clean up drinking water. Reverse-osmosis is a membrane-technology method of filtration that’s designed to remove contaminants, such as arsenic, from water by applying pressure. There are four stages in this kind of system, one of which involves incorporating a sediment pre-filter.

If you are looking to put together a reverse-osmosis system to rid your water of arsenic, Rusco has a number of options to choose from for a sediment pre-filter. Whether you are in need of a filter for a ¾”, 1”, 1-½" or 2” line, Rusco makes something for you! A number of mesh sizes are also available across the Rusco line to ensure that we’ll have a filter or even filters that will cover whatever your needs are. When it comes to dealing with arsenic, you’ll likely want to consider a filter with a mesh that falls on the finer side of the spectrum.

Using one of our new filter media, like our melt blown or pleated filter cartridges would be a great choice as well. These filter cartridges are great at removing debris and allow you to filter out particles all the way down to one micron. These filters also fit inside of our existing filter housings.

An added benefit when implementing a filter to help with arsenic removal is that you’ll be ridding your water of other contaminants and debris you may not even realize are there as well!

If you are looking to address arsenic in your water, reach out to Rusco where a live customer service representative will be able to walk you through the options.

Click here to see our full lineup of filter elements and cartridges.

Source Notes: All information in this article regarding the health effects of exposure to arsenic came from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization. Information relating to the options available for removing arsenic from drinking water came from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.