Working Together to Get Arsenic Out of the Water

Teamwork is the key to success. That was evident on a recent project, as we were asked to step in and help a couple of companies remove arsenic from contaminated wells that supplied some of Bakersfield’s drinking water.

Arsenic is a naturally occurring toxic metal, usually found in trace amounts, that can cause cancer and other health problems. Occasionally, soil can contain arsenic in larger concentrations. When drought conditions worsened several years ago, many local municipalities were forced to dig deeper and deeper to reach underground aquifers. Five Bakersfield wells were found to have arsenic levels above the new lower State limits. Shutting down the wells completely was an option but doing so would have placed an even bigger burden on the remaining wells and may have been even costlier, so officials decided to utilize experts like MKN and other partners to fix the problem.

One of our arsenic treatment vessels

One of our arsenic treatment vessels

The primary vendor selected by Bakersfield knew how to build vessels that would use adsorptive media to rid the water of the arsenic, but the project required an engineering team with experience integrating the entire system. At MKN, we’ve designed many systems from scratch, so we know what to look for in the design and implementation of treatment vessels. In this case, we gave input to the vendor and added components to their original design. Our experience working in existing sites really helped out because some of the well sites were situated within neighborhoods and required access between houses, near schools and parks. We were also able to provide recommendations to minimize downtime for the wells, which helped keep Bakersfield’s water supply running smoothly.

In the end, we were able to help design, refine, and equip two adsorptive vessels at each of the five sites with pH adjustment equipment, flow and pH monitoring, and flow bypassing. Because of the teamwork displayed by MKN, the City of Bakersfield, and our vendor partners, residents are now able to drink cleaner, healthier water!