The Arizona Water Institute, University of Arizona (UA) Water Sustainability Program, and the UA SBRP jointly sponsored and hosted a one-day arsenic workshop on Feb. 17, 2006. Leading Arizona experts on arsenic occurrence, regulatory activities, health effects, treatments for arsenic removal, and management of arsenic-bearing residuals presented information to an audience of over 75 participants. The purpose of the workshop was to inform participants about response options for the new arsenic maximum contamination level (MCL) recently adopted by the EPA. The following UA SBRP investigators presented at the workshop:
- Wendell Ela, Chemical and Environmental Engineering / Topic: Point-of-Use devices, also served as a moderator and facilitator throughout the entire event.
- Vasken Aposhian, Molecular and Cellular Biology / Topic: Health Effects due to Arsenic Exposure
- Jim Field, Chemical and Environmental Engineering / Topic: Microbial Transformations affecting Arsenic Chemistry
- James Farrell, Chemical and Environmental Engineering / Topic: Mechanisms for Arsenic Removal from Water
- Eduardo Sáez, Chemical and Environmental Engineering / Topic: Disposal of Arsenic Residuals
Representatives from various Arizona water utilities and tribes as well as students and city and state officials filled the room, intently listening to the issues surrounding arsenic. Based on the number and quality of questions asked of the presenters, the issues discussed and information provided was of immediate interest to the attendees. The progression of information during the workshop moved from a comprehensive look at the new regulation of arsenic and the persistence of arsenic in groundwater due to hydrogeologic conditions in the Southwest, to a specific, pragmatic discussion concerning the removal of arsenic from drinking water and disposal of residuals, which provided action-based advice. In addition, participants were given the opportunity to get first hand advice from the panel of experts on specific issues and concerns they are currently dealing with.