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  Capital Costs of Arsenic Removal Technologies, U.S. EPA Arsenic Removal Technology Demonstration Program, Round 1 (54 pp, 944 KB) (EPA/600/R-04/201) December 2004

In January 2001, EPA finalized the maximum contaminant level (MCL) for arsenic at 0.01 milligrams per liter (mg/L). EPA subsequently revised the rule to express the MCL as 0.010 mg/L (10 micrograms per liter). The final rule requires all community and nontransient, noncommunity water systems to comply with the new standard by February 2006.

In October 2001, EPA announced an initiative for additional research and development of cost-effective technologies to help small community water systems (those with fewer than 10,000 customers) meet the new arsenic standard and to provide technical assistance to operators of small systems in order to reduce compliance costs.

As part of this Arsenic Rule Implementation Research Program, EPA proposed a project to conduct a series of full-scale, long-term, on-site demonstrations of arsenic removal technologies, process modifications, and engineering approaches applicable to small systems in order to evaluate the efficiency and effectiveness of arsenic removal systems at meeting the new arsenic MCL.

For the Round 1 demonstration study, the selected arsenic treatment technologies included nine adsorptive media systems, one ion exchange system, one coagulation/filtration system, and one process modification. The adsorptive media systems used four different adsorptive media, including three iron-based media (ADI's G2, Severn Trent and AdEdge's E33, and USFilter's GFH) and one iron-modified activated alumina media (Kinetico's AAFS50, a product of Alcan). Since the inception of the project, 10 of 12 systems have been installed, with flow rates at all systems ranging from 37 to 640 gallons per minute.

A key objective of the long-term demonstration project is to determine the cost-effectiveness of the technologies. This report provides a brief description of each of the 12 Round 1 demonstration sites and the respective technologies being evaluated. Capital costs were organized into three categories: equipment, engineering, and installation. Then they were summed for a total capital investment cost for each system. Operations and maintenance costs associated with the treatment systems are not yet available; however, vendor-supplied estimates on media replacement costs are provided in this report.

Excluding the cost for one system-modification site, the total capital investment costs ranged from $90,757 to $305,000 and varied by flow rate, system design, construction material, monitoring equipment, and specific site conditions. Based on a 3 percent interest rate and a 20-year return period, the unit costs of the total capital investment ranged from $0.03 to $0.79 per 1,000 gallons of water treated.

In general, the unit cost decreased as the size of a treatment system increased. The equipment costs for the treatment systems ranged from $66,235 to $218,000, representing 54 to 80 percent of the total capital investment cost. Engineering costs for the treatment systems ranged from $4,907 to $50,659, accounting for 5 to 22 percent of the total capital investment with an average of 12 percent. Installation costs for the treatment systems ranged from $13,150 to $77,574, accounting for 12 to 34 percent of the total capital investment with an average of 22 percent.

Finally, building cost information obtained from the host facilities is provided in the report. Building costs ranged from $3,700 to $186,000 and varied according to differences in location, size, design, construction material, and choice of construction contractor.


Thomas Sorg

See Also

Arsenic Research

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