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Shapla  And Surokka Arsenic Filter

 Shapla arsenic filter

Shapla arsenic filter has been developed and tested widely  tested in  Bangladesh. This is flow through system in which arsenic contaminated water flows through a bucket containing active arsenic removal material prepared by a specialized  chemical treatment of ordianry brick particles to incorporate activated iron oxide in the brick particles. The arsenic absorbing property depends solely on the brick particles . Arsenic filters developed on this property of the brick particles have been investigated in the laboratory and in the field level in the villages of Bangladesh . The device has been found to operate successfully in areas where the ground water contains arsenic concentration  in the range 220-300 ppb and with low level of phosphate .High chloride and silica in water is no problem for the filter. High levels of iron in ground water is helpful in the operation of the filters contrary to alumina based systems. The cheap material can deliver up to  1500/2000 litres of arsenic free water per filters using 20 kg active  material with suitable flow rates. A small house hold unit using 20 kg material produces 20/23 litres of arsenic free water for a small family of  3. for about 2-3 months depending on the water quality . However the filter may fail in areas where there is dissolved organics like humic acids in water specdially from tube wells in swampy areas.The bacterial contamination is vey low unlike the alumina based systems


   Surokka Arsenic Filter


The Surokka filter is a house hold arsenic filter  made out of local components and materials. The filter operates on the properties of locally available iron containing yellow sands to absorb arsenic from ground water . The water flows through the filter at a predetermined rate  so that almost 100% removal of As(III) and As (IV) is obtained. The operation of the filter is very simple , just pouring water to the container containing 20 kg active material and collecting water  in a receiver. The filter can produce at least 25-30 litres of  arsenic free water in 12 hour period for small family of 3 people. The active material may produce 2000 litres or more depending on the arsenic  ,iron and phosphate levels of the ground water. The filter operates best with 100-300 ppb As with  phosphate level of near one ppm. The filter is also an effective iron remover from water tolerating high iron levels of  20 ppm or more. The high levels of iron in ground water facilitates arsenic removal. The filter removes also iron from the ground water to the acceptable level. The exhausted arsenic containing sand can be disposed of without  environmental problem as the leach ability of arsenic from exhausted sand is very low. .. Thus the filter can be used as iron filter to produce clean water even if no arsenic is present in water. Since the active material is made from locally available yellow sand, the filter cost is at the lowest possible. The filter is not contaminated with bacteria   very easily . The filter principle is outlined in the attached document. Arsenic removal from water by heat treated yellow sands” by Dr M.Fakhrul Islam , University of Rajshahi, Bangladesh. Since the yellow sand may be available in  many countries such filters can be constructed and given to the arsenic affected people with out much financial burden to the rural people. The sand can be processed  by simple easily applied techniques even in the village level.


Operational Characteristis  of Shapla filter


ANNEX- 05 J 1

Shapla Arsenic Removal Filter


Shapla Arsenic Filter


Absorption, filtration

Chemical controls

Relies on As absorption to Fe2 03 through brick sand matrixP04 > As04 > > Si04 (order of competing ions)

Physical controls

Fe2 03 impregnated brick sand in filter container Brick sand grain size (+/- 2mm)Time exposure to treated media

Operating procedure

Disperse As contaminated water throughout filter media and use water from the bottom tap

Flow rate

- low turbidity

Approx. 2-3 litres per hour
Approx. 2-3 litres per hour

- high turbidity

Time for 20 litres to pass
Litres in 12 hours

Approx 7 hours
Approx. 30 liters

Batches before deterioration
- low turbidity
- high turbidity

3000 liters at As level 300 ppb per media charge
No deterioration
No deterioration

Claims on effectiveness(Results and references)

2 years lab testing:
Conducted by Professor Fakhrul Islam, Department of Applied Chemistry & Chemical Technology, Rajshahi UniversityInput water (857 ppb As) reduced to 9.5 ppb = 98.9% As removal rateInput water (257 ppb) reduced to 6.8 ppb = 97.4% As removal rate
Household level field tests:
Field tested in UNICEF working areas in Sonargaon & Kachua, Danida working area in Noakhali and SDC WATSAN-WPP working area in Rajshahi, test results show arsenic removal rate 98%

Cost (Capital and current) per unit

350-400 taka including media20 kg of replacement media 100 taka





Relevant documents

    Leaching of Arsenic from Iron Oxide Impregnated Brick Sands (Shapla Filter Media) Using Common Chemicals and    Water
M. Fakhrul Islam, M. Moklesur Rahman and Sad Ahamed

BUET-UNU International Symposium
5-6 February 2003 Dhaka, Bangladesh


1  International workshop on Arsenic Mitigation, Jan 14-16. 2002 , Dhaka , An overview of  Arsenic Issues and Mitigation Initiatives in  Bangladesh  Annex 05J ,NAISU,NGO Forum for drinking water  Supply and Sanitation , ARSENIC 2002 

Contact email address:  fislam2000@gmail.com   for more information 





M Fakhrul Islam,
Apr 8, 2009, 8:21 PM
M Fakhrul Islam,
Apr 9, 2009, 7:51 PM