Environmental science & technology

Arsenic waste management: a critical review of testing and disposal of arsenic-bearing solid wastes generated during arsenic removal from drinking water.

PMID 24004144


Water treatment technologies for arsenic removal from groundwater have been extensively studied due to widespread arsenic contamination of drinking water sources. Central to the successful application of arsenic water treatment systems is the consideration of appropriate disposal methods for arsenic-bearing wastes generated during treatment. However, specific recommendations for arsenic waste disposal are often lacking or mentioned as an area for future research and the proper disposal and stabilization of arsenic-bearing waste remains a barrier to the successful implementation of arsenic removal technologies. This review summarizes current disposal options for arsenic-bearing wastes, including landfilling, stabilization, cow dung mixing, passive aeration, pond disposal, and soil disposal. The findings from studies that simulate these disposal conditions are included and compared to results from shorter, regulatory tests. In many instances, short-term leaching tests do not adequately address the range of conditions encountered in disposal environments. Future research directions are highlighted and include establishing regulatory test conditions that align with actual disposal conditions and evaluating nonlandfill disposal options for developing countries.