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EARTH: Treated water that's too pure lets arsenic sneak in

January 07, 2016

Alexandria, VA - In an effort to reduce water use in California, communities are turning to wastewater purification. This wastewater is being made so pure that it's actually causing problems: EARTH Magazine reports on a new study that showed that ultra-purified water allowed minute amounts of arsenic to leach from the surrounding bedrock into the water.

The study was conducted on water from the Orange County Water District, which purifies wastewater with a comprehensive process including microfiltration, reverse osmosis and UV light treatments. That purified water is then injected into a local aquifer. Over an approximately six-month residence time, that purified water accumulated trace amounts of arsenic. Geoscientists were called in to help solve the mystery of its occurrence. Learn the source of the arsenic and how the local geology and water chemistry interacted in the latest story from EARTH Magazine: http://bit.ly/1Z2o6v8.

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Keep up to date with the latest happenings in Earth, energy and environment news with EARTH Magazine online at: http://www.earthmagazine.org/. Published by the American Geosciences Institute, EARTH is your source for the science behind the headlines.

The American Geosciences Institute is a nonprofit federation of geoscientific and professional associations that represents more than 250,000 geologists, geophysicists and other earth scientists. Founded in 1948, AGI provides information services to geoscientists, serves as a voice of shared interests in the profession, plays a major role in strengthening geoscience education, and strives to increase public awareness of the vital role the geosciences play in society's use of resources, resiliency to natural hazards, and interaction with the environment.

American Geosciences Institute

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