Sustainable management and treatment of arsenic bearing groundwater in Southern Hungary (SUMANAS) – LIFE05 ENV/H/000418

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Following the EU's accession application of 98/83 EU Directive concerning drinking water quality it became compulsory in Hungary in accordance with Hungarian law. This is a great challenge because the quality of 42% of the supplied water does not meet the requirements of the Directive. The problem mainly arises in case of components of geological origin; e.g. arsenic content of the drinking water exceeds 10 µg/l in more than 400 settlements. Methane, ammonia, iron, manganese, molybdenum, fluoride and boron content of the drinking water are also can be high in the drinking water.

Project “Sustainable management and treatment of arsenic bearing groundwater in Southern Hungary” (SUMANAS) was funded by LIFE environmental programme between 2005 and 2008. The coordinating beneficiary was Körös County Water Conservancy Directorate (KÖRKÖVIZIG); participating beneficiaries were Makó Regional Waterworks Ltd., Bálint Analytics Ltd., SMARAGD-GSH Ltd., Selor EEIG. Ltd., Geological Survey of Finland and Arad Waterworks. The project partners cooperated in finding solutions for the utilization of arsenic water.

According to the results there are two possibilities to extract arsenic from the water. One is that by applying a water-clarifying instrument arsenic is removed from the groundwater before supplying to the water system; the project investigated this possibility in 4 pilot areas. The other possible solution is to explore new aquifers and groundwater with less arsenic content. SMARAGD-GSH Ltd. investigated this possibility. Distribution and origin of the arsenic were examined in the groundwater of the South Alföld; a hydrodynamic model was prepared in order to estimate groundwater flow directions and their effect on arsenic content of the groundwater.

The results of water quality analyses and hydrogeological information were systematized in a GIS database that can be directly applied for water management and water supply decision making.