Ground water in both the northeastern and southwestern coast areas of Taiwan may contain high concentrations of arsenic. Since no central water supply system is available in some of those areas, point-of-use (POU) water purification devices are considered as an option for providing safe drinking water. In this study, removal of arsenic, using two types of POU purification devices, reverse osmosis (RO) systems and distillers, was investigated. Three commercially available RO systems and two distillers were selected to test their removal efficiency of arsenic from synthetic and real ground water. Experimental results of the three RO systems using synthetic ground water showed that only one system had good removal efficiency for arsenic. In subsequent experiments using real ground water with 0.7 mg l−1 arsenic, only one RO system was able to meet the drinking water standard after producing about 1,000 l of treated water. For the distilling systems, 99% of the arsenic was removed from both synthetic and real ground water. The arsenic concentrations in the finished water of both distillers were all below the standard for drinking water. Although systems with higher arsenic removal efficiency seemed to have better removal of total dissolved solids (TDS), no correlation could be found after analysis.
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