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Monday, September 19, 2005

Email to Dr. Haris

Good day Dr. Haris,
My name is Brian Wagner and I am a new member of an organization called Chemists Without Borders (CWB) that has started in the United States. Our organization is interested in bettering the world through chemistry. Our primary goals include, but are not limited to: providing vaccines and affordable medicine to those who need them, developing clean water technology, and renewable energy. Our website is www.chemistswithoutborders.org. Dr. Steve Chambreau (co-founder of CWB) emailed me an article from Chemical and Engineering News about your research regarding arsenic removal from groundwater via ground water hyacinth root. I found the results intriguing and hopeful. Each member of CWB has been asked to develop a project that we feel provides a public benefit. I am very interested in building an arsenic remediation system using water hyacinth, but I could use some additional information to help with the design. How many grams of dried root was required to achieve the 93-95% removal efficiency? How many liters of water was in contact with the root? Does a longer contact time with the root provide for a greater removal of arsenic or is there a point of diminished return? Did you pass more than one aliquot of contaminated water through the same powdered root? If so, did you see breakthrough or reduced removal efficiency after addition of more than one aliquot of water? Did you note any interferences from groundwater geochemistry (i.e., high iron, manganese, phosphate concentrations reducing removal efficiency) What would become of the powdered root after it's ability to absorb arsenic reaches the breakthrough point and needs to be replaced? Is it considered a hazardous waste? On behalf of CWB, I would greatly appreciate any additional information you could provide. Your research is very promising. I like the idea of using a natural resource (especially an unwanted weed) to achieve a remediation goal. In addition to delivering clean water, I can envision the start-up of small businesses to harvest and prepare the root for use in remediation systems, providing a local economic boost to area communities. Thanks for your time. Brian Wagner Chemists Without Borders

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