October 5, 2005

Pilot Sandia treatment system that removes arsenic from water to be demonstrated Oct. 10 at Rio Rancho well site

Sen. Pete Domenici, Sandia executives to be on hand

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — A pilot treatment system developed by the National Nuclear Security Administration’s Sandia National Laboratories that tests technologies to remove arsenic from water, supplied by a number of vendors, will be demonstrated at a Rio Rancho well site on Oct. 10 at 1:30 p.m. On hand will be Sen. Pete Domenici, R-N.M., who was instrumental in securing funding for the project; Sandia executives; and Rio Rancho Mayor Jim Owen.

The project is part of a research program designed to find simple, inexpensive ways water utilities can reduce arsenic levels from their water supplies in order to meet new Environmental Protection Act regulations that go into effect in January 2006. The regulations require the Maximum Contaminant Level (MCL) of arsenic in water be reduced from the current limit of 50 micrograms per liter (µg/L) to 10 µg/L.

High levels of arsenic in water are known to increase the incidence of bladder and lung cancers.

Rio Rancho arsenic removal demonstration

Reporters will have the opportunity to view a pilot treatment system developed by Sandia to remove arsenic from water during a news conference scheduled for Oct. 10 at 1:30 p.m. at a Rio Rancho well site.

From Alameda: Take I-25 north to the Alameda exit (#233) and head west for about five miles. Turn left onto High Resort Blvd. Turn right onto Broadmoor St. (Broadmoor becomes 31 St.) Turn right onto Loma Colorado Dr. The well site is southeast and across the street from the athletic fields at Rio Rancho High School.

From north I-25: Take I-25 north to the second Bernalillo exit (#242) and head west on NM 550. Turn south onto NM 528. Turn left on Loma Colorado Dr. The well site is southeast and across the street from the Athletic fields at Rio Ranch High School.

News media: Please RSVP to 505-844-0948 by 2 p.m. Friday, Oct. 7, if you plan to attend.


Research program sponsors are the Arsenic Water Technology Partnership — a group made up of Sandia; the Awwa Research Foundation (AwwaRF); and WERC, a consortium for Environmental Education and Technology Development.

“Removing arsenic from municipal water is a pressing problem for many New Mexico communities,’’ says Domenici, who secured $10 million for the research project in his role as chairman of the Senate Energy and Water Development Appropriations Subcommittee. “The costs of conventional removal methods are staggering, and that’s why I worked to fund research to find more affordable ways to get arsenic out of drinking water.”

The Rio Rancho demonstration project is the third implemented by the partnership in less than a year in New Mexico. The others are in Socorro and Anthony. More are expected to be established at other well sites around the state and outside of New Mexico in coming months by the project field team led by lead engineer Malynda Aragon and technologists Randy Everett and William Holub, Jr.

“Types of arsenic cleanup used will vary from site to site because different communities have different water chemistries,” says Sandia project lead Malcolm Siegel. “The different experiments at the multiple locations reflect those different needs.”

The Rio Rancho pilot demonstration will obtain arsenic removal performance data for six different adsorptive materials and two reverse osmosis units for a period of three to nine months. The performance data obtained in the test will be combined with data from a previous pilot test using conventional technologies at the same well site to provide information useful to a large number of communities.

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Sandia is a multiprogram laboratory operated by Sandia Corporation, a Lockheed Martin company, for the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration. Sandia has major R&D responsibilities in national security, energy and environmental technologies, and economic competitiveness.

Sandia media contact: Chris Burroughs,, (505) 844-0948

Sandia technical contact: Thomas Hinkebein,, (505) 844-6985