Groundwater Arsenic Contamination and Social Needs of Economical Arsenic Removal Technology in Rural Areas of Cambodian Mekong Delta
    1. Department of Chemical Engineering, Faculty of Chemical Engineering and Food Science, Institute of Technology of Cambodia, Russian Ferderation Blvd., P.O. Box 86, Phnom Penh, Cambodia.

Received: April 11,2021 / Revised: Accepted: May 15,2021 / Published: June 29,2021

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 Natural occurrences of arsenic in groundwater have been identified as a major threat to public health affecting 2.5 million Cambodians in at least 10 provinces, among which Kandal is the most heavily suffered. To alleviate the impacts, the arsenic contamination has been mitigated by abandoning the affected groundwater or remediated by applying arsenic removal technology (ART). For a sustainable solution, the ART putting to use in developing countries, has to be feasible, cost-effective and efficient (in removal), reflecting specific needs of people in the contaminated communities. Therefore, this study aims to determine the contamination level of arsenic in groundwater and social needs of economical ART in Kandal province and peri-urban areas of Phnom Penh. In this present study, arsenic test kits were used to examined the arsenic concentration in 43 groundwater samples, 24 of which were additionally determined by using graphite furnace atomic absorption spectrometer. For socio-economic study, 31 assessed wells utilized by 380 people were selected. The study finds out that the groundwater samples are enriched with arsenic concentration ranging from 4.78 to 1785 μg/L with an average of 345.59 μg/L. The data shows 96% and 79% of the groundwater samples fail to meet the provisional drinking water guideline of WHO (10 μg/L) and Cambodia (50 μg/L), accordingly. Additionally, the socio-economic study indicates that 89% of the selected households depend on groundwater and 34% depend solely on groundwater for daily consumption, indicating high reliance on the aquifers. Besides, each household uses 45.77 m3 of water, 66.38% of which is from aquifer every month with a total expense of 54,568 riels in average. Conclusively, some groundwaters are tremendously hazardous while there is a strong need of it for daily life and water consumption.