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This Month's Hot Topic: Metals and Related Substances in Drinking Water

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9781780404721.jpgThe contamination of drinking water by metals and metalloids can occur throughout the “source to tap” production and delivery system. The major problems are with arsenic, iron, nickel and lead. Problems can also occur with aluminium, copper, manganese, selenium and sodium. Arsenic, iron and lead are core parameters in the UN/WHO Protocol on Water and Health.

The spectrum of issues includes health impact and regulation, economic impact and the pursuit of cost-effective technological solutions, and environmental aspects such as the use of phosphorus based corrosion inhibitors.

In most cases it is not possible to continuously monitor waters for metals and suitable sampling programmes must be designed and carried out to give results representative of the true water quality.

The EU Drinking Water Directive sets a range of standards for metals and related substances in drinking water, many of which are concerned with health protection. A number of these standards are very stringent and require compliance to be assessed at the point of use. Because of the difficulties associated with monitoring, historic practices in many countries have concentrated on the quality of water within the distribution network. As a result, the magnitude of problems with some metals and related substances in drinking water is not fully appreciated in all European countries, and the extent and nature of corrective actions differ widely.

Lead in Drinking Water

Several members of the IWA Specialist Group on Metals and Related Substances in Drinking Water have collaborated with the Government of Alberta, Canada and the cities of Calgary and Edmonton, in a Demonstration Project concerning optimisation of the control of lead in drinking water. The project included diagnostic assessments, plumbosolvency assessments by laboratory testing, sequential sampling at homes with lead service lines, XRD analysis to differentiate the nature of lead corrosion deposits, computational modelling, the evaluation of the environmental impact of control measures and an economic assessment. The project demonstrated a range of problems with the current sampling protocols that are recommended in Canada and concluded that risk assessment, within the context of an existing framework of Drinking Water Safety Plans, would provide a stronger basis for controlling lead in drinking water. The project report will be published shortly. In the mean time, enquiries can be made to Dr Donald Reid at or Dr Colin Hayes at

The WaterWiki invites your contributions on this vital topic.

We are looking for articles, case studies, reports and poster presentations between 1000 and 2000 words and covering the following aspects of Metals and Related Substances in Drinking Water:

  • Quality assurance of sampling procedures
  • Drinking Water Quality Standards and Regulations
  • Removal of Metals From Drinking Water
  • Monitoring metals in water treatment
  • Monitoring metals in distribution systems
  • Case studies
  • Statistical tools for the evaluation of results

Key Words: Lead, Arsenic, Corrosion, Distribution, Water Supply, Statistics, Modelling, Treatment, Removal, Regulation, Quality, Standards, Sampling.

How to Submit:

Click here to upload your article, report or case study. When you have uploaded your material to this area, tag with the 'Hot Topic' article tag.
Reminder: You need to create a WaterWiki user account, then login to upload you materials!

Click here to upload your poster presentation to Events Extra, including 'Hot Topic_MRS' in the event name.

The deadline for submissions to this Hot Topic is Friday 23rd May 2014

Image is courtesy of the Global Water Forum Image Resource.

Related Publications from IWA Publishing

  1. Internal Corrosion Control of Water Supply Systems - Code of Practice 
  2. Best Practice Guide on Metals Removal From Drinking Water By Treatment 
  3. Best Practice Guide on Sampling and Monitoring of Metals in Drinking Water 
  4. Best Practice Guide on the Control of Lead in Drinking Water
  5. Metals and Related Substances in Drinking Water: Proceedings of the 4th International Conference, METEAU
  6. Best Practice Guide on the Control of Arsenic in Drinking Water  
  7. Health Effects of Metals and Related Substances in Drinking Water 
  8. Optimisation of Corrosion Control for Lead in Drinking Water Using Computational Modelling Techniques
  9. Arsenic Contamination in the World
  10. Basic Water Treatment: Fifth Edition

Related WaterWiki Articles

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  3. Distillation Treatment and Removal of Contaminants from Drinking Water
  4. Issues with Drinking water in developing countries
  5. Characterisation of Ionic Copper for Disinfection of Stored Drinking Water
  6. Study of the Potential Impacts of Hydraulic Fracturing on Drinking Water Resources
  7. Arsenic Contamination In Groundwater In Bangladesh: An Environmental And Social Disaster
  8. Improved biosand filter(iBSF) combined with ferric manganese silica oxides to remove arsenic
  9. A study on the induced green sand effect on manganese removal in granular media
  10. Reverse Osmosis and Removal of Minerals from Drinking Water

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Created by mircea staicu on 2012/05/17 12:57

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