Phytoremediation has received increasing attention after the discovery of arsenic hyperaccumulation ability and growth habit plants which are able to accumulate, translocate, and concentrate high amount of arsenic.
Both terrestrial and aquatic plants have been tested to remediate contaminated soils and waters, respectively. Phytoremediation of contaminated arsenic in surface and groundwater (tube well) in Mekong Delta, Vietnam is a new idea. For example, an arsenic-hyperaccumulating fern, commonly known as a fern (Pteris vittata).
In this research, we use the following dried plants:
These above plants came from various place in the U.S. and Vietnam (Xã Phong Mỹ, Huyện Cao Lãnh, Tỉnh Đồng Tháp). They were all sun-dried for three consecutive days with an estimated about 10% of humidity remaining.
Also, we tried to figure out an easy assemble (little to no cost) filter model which can remove arsenic in large quantity. With just a small pipe (2 inch in diameter by 2 feet in length) and 50 gr of dried plants, it can “treat” up to 12 liter of contaminated water by reduce the arsenic from 100 ppb to the required acceptance level at 10 ug/L.
In summary, there are many ways to reduce arsenic level in drinking water. Some method can cost more than other but using our prototype, people who live in rural area now can have a low cost method to combat arsenic in drinking water while we continue to find more effective ways.
However; the major challenge facing for our research team is how to help people living in Red River Delta and Mekong Delta in Vietnam to understand the danger of contaminated water in tube wells and in surface water as well as educate them to remove arsenic in their water.
The successful of this arsenic combatant can greatly increase with the support of local government.