Avoiding natural arsenic in drinking water

23 August 2018

Ramboll has helped develop a ‘Sediment Colour Tool’ that enables local drillers in Bangladesh to identify arsenic-safe aquifers when installing new tube wells.

Tubewell in Bangladesh

Tubewell in Bangladesh


Mattias von Brömssen

Ph.D., Head of Department Water Resources, Sweden
T: +46 8 6156387

Access to safe drinking water is a basic human right and an important component for effective public health protection. However, the widespread occurrence of natural arsenic (As) in the groundwater in Bangladesh has drastically reduced safe water access. Natural arsenic is a chemical element and a high concentration of As can be toxic.

Tube wells are widely accepted as a safe drinking water option and around 90% of them are installed by community-based, local tube well drillers. However, the distinct relationship of sediment colour and corresponding As concentrations in water has been recently been documented in several studies.

Towards UN Sustainable Development Goal 6

Using local drillers' perception of sediment colour and experience of tube well installation, a Sediment Colour Tool has been developed with their cooperation to identify As-safe aquifers in regions with high arsenic risk.

“The use of the tool will minimize the risk for high arsenic concentrations in the drinking-water and bring significant change to reduce As exposure and scale-up access to safe drinking water in rural Bangladesh,” says Mattias Von Brömssen, Water Resource Expert in Ramboll. “This also helps the drinking water sector meet the target of UN Sustainable Development Goal number six on ensuring clean water and sanitation for everyone.”

Together with representatives from UNICEF and KTH Royal Institute of Technology Mattias will be presenting the Sediment Colour Tool at the World Water Week in Stockholm. The presentation will take place August 28th 11:00 – 11:45 in Room NL 253.

Related information

Project description: Securing safe drinking water in Bangladesh

Service description: Water Resources Management

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