TWENTYNINE PALMS — Twentynine Palms Water District is pioneering the field of arsenic removal in drinking water thanks to the partnership with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

The Arsenic Removal Technology Demonstration Program implemented in Twentynine Palms is being recognized as a national model that provides big savings for other water districts to follow.

Not only will drinking water be in compliance with the new maximum contaminant levels for arsenic, the district will be saving over $20,000 annually.

The program was featured in a study published by the American Water Works Association, educating water districts on the local water district’s cost-saving method. Additionally, an agency in Arizona has implemented the program and other states and countries are showing an interest.

The maximum contaminant level for arsenic, a naturally occurring and highly toxic semi-metal, is 10 parts per billion. Three of Twentynine Palms wells’ were out of compliance when the allowable level for arsenic was lowered.

Twentynine Palms became the test district for the EPA’s research into an economical method for small, low-income water agencies to remove arsenic.

Ray Kolisz, general manager for Twentynine Palms Water District, shared about the significance of this research.

“Many communities, especially in lower income and rural areas, are out of compliance because arsenic treatment costs so much” he said.

This process not only will benefit the water district locally, but will have a positive effect on the nation’s approach to arsenic removal, Kolisz said.

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