Water is one of the most essential requirements for living being to survive because 70–80% of the mass of most living bodies consists of water and various mineral and organic salts. Water is also most important component of our environment. Large amount of water is used in various industries or commercial level or domestic level and finally effluent water is loaded with large amount of pollutants such as organic chemicals (surfactants, dyes, phenols etc.), inorganic hazardous heavy metals (As in present case) microbes (bacteria, fungi etc.) pollutants particulate etc. Arsenic is a natural metalloid chemical that may be present in groundwater and surface water gets polluted, hence, aquatic life of plants and animals is disturbed and cause abnormal growth and various diseases, hence, short term or long term changes occurs in ecosystem. Hence, treatment of wastewater is essentially required before discharge effluent wastewater into ponds or lagoons, drains and rivers. Arsenic is one such element that contaminates the environment as reported in several countries. The largest population at risk is in Bangladesh followed by India (West Bengal). Arsenic is familiar as silent killer because dissolved in water, it is colorless, odorless, and tasteless, yet consumption of relatively small doses of this element in its most toxic forms can cause rapid and violent death. It is a human carcinogen in water over a wide range of pH values, having harmful effects on both human health and environment, even at low concentration. Because of this effect, the World Health Organization (WHO) and the US Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) set the arsenic standard for drinking water at .010 ppm to protect consumers served by public water systems. Ingestion only poses health problems if a dangerous amount of arsenic enters the body. Then, it can lead to cancer, liver disease, coma, and death. There is no effective treatment for arsenic toxicity. Only the removal of arsenic from aqueous system can prevent the toxicity. A great deal of research over recent decades has been done to lower the concentration of arsenic in drinking water and still there is a need to develop ecofriendly techniques. Existing major arsenic removal technologies include oxidation, adsorption, precipitation, coagulation and membrane separation. This book chapter presents a systematic description of current status of research in the area of arsenic removal from contaminated water and comparison of all technologies available with more emphasis on adsorption.
Part of the book: Arsenic Monitoring, Removal and Remediation