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One Solution to the Arsenic Problem: A Return to Surface (Improved Dug) Wells

By Sakila Afroz Joya, Golam Mostofa, Jabed Yousuf, Ariful Islam, Altab Elahi, Golam Mahiuddin, Mahmuder Rahman, Quazi Quamruzzaman and Richard Wilson


Arsenic contamination in drinking-water in Bangladesh is a major catastrophe, the consequences of which exceed most other man-made disasters. The national policy encourages the use of surface water as much as possible without encountering the problems of sanitation that led to the use of groundwater in the first place. This paper describes the success of the Dhaka Community Hospital (DCH) team and the procedure in implementing sanitary, arsenic-free, dugwells. The capital cost for running water is US$ 5-6 per person. Sixty-six sanitary dugwells were installed in phases between 2000 and 2004 in Pabna district of Bangladesh where there was a great need of safe water because, in some villages, 90% of tubewells were highly contaminated with arsenic. In total, 1,549 families now have access to safe arsenic-free dugwell water. Some of them have a water-pipe up to their kitchen. All of these were implemented with active participation of community members. They also pay for water-use and are themselves responsible for the maintenance and water quality. The DCH helped the community with installation and maintenance protocol and also with monitoring water quality. The bacteria levels are low but not always zero, and studies are in progress to reduce bacteria by chlorination.Physic

Topics: arsenic, sanitation, water supply, coliform, Bangladesh
Publisher: International Centre for Diarrhoeal Disease Research, Bangladesh
Year: 2013
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