Water Treatment

New moss removes arsenic from contaminated water

Researchers from Stockholm University in Sweden have discovered a moss, Warnstofia fluitans, that is capable of removing arsenic from contaminated water. The discovery allows for an environmentally friendly way to purify water of arsenic – the moss can simply be frown in streams and other watercourses with high arsenic levels.

Stockholm University Department of Ecology, Environment and Plant Sciences associate professor Maria Greger said: “We hope that the plant-based wetland system that we are developing will solve the arsenic problem in Sweden’s northern mining areas. Our aim is that the plant-based wetland system we are developing will filter out the arsenic before the water becomes drinking water and irrigation water.”

Despite the ban on the use of arsenic compounds in wood products in 2004, arsenic still reaches ground and water systems due to mining. The ground and bedrock in certain parts of the country naturally contain arsenic. Due to this, the drinking water and irrigation water also contain high levels of arsenic.

Research assistant Arifin Sandhi said in a statement: “Our experiments show that the moss has a very high capacity to remove arsenic. It takes no more than an hour to remove 80% of the arsenic from a container of water. By then, the water has reached such a low level of arsenic that it is no longer harmful to people.”