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Arsenic in Drinking Water – Vietnam Affected As Well


The groundwater in the Red River and Mekong Delta regions in Vietnam is contaminated with naturally occurring arsenic. Geological conditions here are comparable to those in the Ganges Delta region in India and Bangladesh. Experts estimate that some 10 million Vietnamese may be routinely consuming arsenic-contaminated water. Concentrations alarmingly in excess of permissible limits are found particularly in rural regions, where water supply comes principally from small private wells and cisterns.

A joint Vietnamese-German research project has been started to study the problem, focussing on the region around Hanoi. Joining forces in an interdisciplinary approach, geoecologists, physicians and engineers are looking to evaluate symptoms of arsenic exposure in the population and develop simple and cost-effective treatment methods. GEH Wasserchemie is a participant in the project, providing know-how from their many years of experience in dearsenification.

As the groundwater in the affected regions contains very high levels of iron, conventional aerated sand-bed filtration can remove some of the arsenic but normally not enough to get down to the maximum permissible concentration of 10 μg/L. Therefore an additional treatment step is required. GEH® 102 granular adsorbent is eminently suited for this task as shown in widespread use in small filter units in India. Acting in conjunction with the University of Hanoi, GEH Wasserchemie will provide the adsorbent bed material for the pilot adsorbers which will be tested in operation at numerous locations.

Our research associate Carsten Bahr ( will gladly answer any questions you may have concerning this project. The joint project is under the direction of PD Dr. habil. Stefan Norra of the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) (

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