Implementation of Chowgacha Arsenic Removal Plant  -  Completion Report

Groundwater is the preferred and widely extracted source of drinking water in Bangladesh. In rural areas, the most popular source of ground water is hand tubewell, because treatment of the same, including disinfections, is often not required and its extraction can be placed near consumers. However, unfortunately, vast areas in the Ganges Delta in Bangladesh are highly contaminated with arsenic and most of the hand tubewells installed in shallow aquifer are contaminated with arsenic beyond acceptable limits. The lives of the people are exposed to threat of arsenic poisoning and many poor people, having poor nutritional status, have been badly suffering from Arsenicosis and are living a very miserable life.

Dhaka Ahsania Mission (DAM) has been working with arsenic mitigation for many years as part of its water and sanitation programme. In line with Government of Bangladesh (GoB) initiative, DAM facilitates screening of arsenic contaminated shallow tube wells and installation of arsenic free deep hand tube well in its working area including vast coastal belt areas of Bangladesh. Simultaneously, DAM is also taking initiative to install small arsenic removal plants for the arsenic affected vulnerable communities which are either excluded from GoB facilities or are not getting access to safe water due to difficult geo-hydrological condition. Chowgacha Upazilla (subdistrict) of Jessore is one such difficult area which is highly arsenic affected and where the people are badly in need of arsenic free safe drinking water.

Objective of the Project
The objective of this project is to provide a safe, cost-effective and village-user-friendly water treatment plant applying the latest and most effective technology to remove arsenic from tubewell groundwater.

Plant location
A field survey was conducted in December 2008 for selecting the appropriate site for installation of the plant. After detailed investigation of the area, the Hyatpur village of Patibila union of Chowgacha was selected as the plant site. The site was selected in consideration of following criteria:

§ Safe water crisis in the locality
§ Hot spot of arsenic contamination
§ Community need for arsenic free safe water.
§ Community interest to pay small tariff for arsenic free water
§ Good internal road communication and availability of electricity.

Mr. Bazlur Rahman, a villager, kindly donated 1 decimal of his roadside land for the plant.

Target Beneficiaries
865 households and 3,890 people will be covered under this plant for supply of arsenic free water for drinking and cooking purpose and thus these people will be the direct beneficiaries of this plant.

Plant Manufacturer
Sidko Limited, a reputed firm in Bangladesh is the manufacturer of this plant. The firm is manufacturing and supplying this plant with technological support from Germany. The plant technology is approved by GoB for community level implementation.

Plant Technology
Granular Ferric Hydroxide AdsorpAsŪ reactors are fixed bed adsorbers operating like conventional filters with a downward water flow. The technique aims at the combination of high arsenic removal efficiency with the simple operation of the fixed bed adsorption. This technology is not only economical but also the most effective system as far as the efficiency in eliminating arsenic from groundwater is concerned. It can find application for small requirements in rural areas in connection with hand tubewells as well as for larger requirements in towns in connection with community waterworks.

The configuration is compact and easy-to-install. It can be easily and quickly connected to a hand tube well, the water pumped is sprayed through a shower for aeration into the raw water overhead tank. This is connected to gravel filter at top. The gravel filter consists only of gravel to remove Iron. Water comes out from the bottom of the gravel filter and enters in to the arsenic filter at the top. The water fills at the top and flows downwards through the AdsorpAsŪ bed to a fresh water reserve tank. The arsenic concentration in water will thereby be brought down by AdsorpAsŪ to a level below the acceptable limits. The filtered water is stored in the filtered water reserve tank for maximum capacity utilization. There is no need to man the system round the clock. It cuts considerably down on operating and personal costs.

Cost of the Plant
The total cost of the arsenic removal plant installed in Chowgacha has come to Tk 485,500 which is equivalent to the amount we received from DAM-UK (GBP 5,025). The plant will serve 3,890 people meaning that per people cost of the plant is Tk 125 only. The breakdown of the cost is given below:

§ Installation cost of the Plant : Tk 414,640
§ Electric Connection : 20,500
§ Distribution containers : 15,000
§ Billboard and other pre-operating : 8,000
§ Plant handing over : 12,000
§ DAM Monitoring and Supervision : 15,360
Total Tk 485,500

GBP 5,025


The SIDKO Arsenic Removal Plant has been successfully installed in Chowgacha, the plant is now in full operation and is open for the community people. This type of community based plant is very cost effective and expected to serve the arsenic affected people of Hyatpur village of Chowgacha for a long time. Dhaka Ahsania Mission is grateful to DAM UK and The Drinking Fountain Association for donating funds for fully supporting the installation of arsenic removal plant for Chowgacha in Bangladesh.