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Arsenic Removal from OU Water 1 of 6 Arsenic Removal from OU Water By: Ross Chaffin, Randy Goll, Sami Karam, Roman Voronov Capstone Design Project- University of Oklahoma - Spring 2003 Arsenic Law_______________________________________________ Under the 1996 amendments to the Safe Drinking Water Act, the EPA has decided to review the old acceptable arsenic levels in drinking water; and as the previous levels of 50 ppb will be replaced by a 0 ppb non-enforceable and 10 ppb enforceable levels of arsenic in all public drinking water systems effective as of January 23, 2006. The reason for this recent change from the old 50 ppb rule that was established in 1975 is that a March 1999 report by the National Academy of Sciences concluded that the current standard does not achieve EPA's goal of protecting public health and should be lowered as soon as possible . R ecent studies have linked long-term exposure to arsenic in drinking water to cancer of the bladder, lungs, skin, kidney, nasal passages, liver, and prostate. Non-cancer effects of ingesting arsenic include cardiovascular, pulmonary, immunological, neurological, and endocrine (e.g., diabetes) effects. Short-term exposure to high doses of arsenic can cause other adverse health effects that are irreversible in some cases . OU Arsenic Situation_______________________________________ Well Data With the new arsenic rule, the campus of the University of Oklahoma (OU) is now faced with the ultimatum to find a solution for its problem. Most of the problem wells in the Norman area are located on campus property, and are used to supply on-campus buildings with potable water. OU’s maximum water consumption peaks toward the spring semester when residence halls and overall demand increases due to the heat. Currently, peak consumption reaches 1.5 million gallons per day. The maximum capacity of the water grid is around 2.0 million gallons per day, due to water towers limitations. The average arsenic content for all wells being presently used is 35 ppb. This automatically makes the whole system non-compliant with the 2006 deadline.
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Arsenic Removal from OU Water 2 of 6 Well Constraints OU’s constraint is the geographical limitations presented by the campus boundaries. Any wells drilled outside campus property belong to the City of Norman. All the operational wells are situated in the Westheimer Airpark North of Robinson Street along HWY 77. A piping network connects them all to one main pipeline going down Berry Street towards the main campus. OU’s restrictions are extremely limiting because of the small area allocated to drilling wells. Water Purchase Option _ The current plant implemented by the University of Oklahoma, at this point, is purchasing water from the City of Norman. Buying water from Norman may not be the least expensive option available to OU, because the price that will be set by the City of Norman for water purchase is unclear as of now.
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