Chromium 6 is a naturally found element derived from eroding natural chrome deposits. It is most often found among rocks, soil, and plants.
But it is also produced during different stages of the industrial process. Natural gas and oil refineries often use it as an anti-corrosion agent for cooling water.
It is also used to prevent corrosion in metal coatings and preserve wood.
Chromium 6 is a highly carcinogenic chemical that is odorless and tasteless. Improper waste practices have caused the chemical to pollute the water and air.
Despite being hard to detect, chromium 6 can be filtered using several techniques. We have compiled these techniques in this article.
Chromium 6 was found in abundance in Hinkley, California in the 1990s during an investigation led by Erin Brockovich. This investigation led to a class-action lawsuit against the industrial plant, Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E).
The plant used chromium 6 as a rust-suppressor. And it dumped its excess wastewater into the surrounding ponds of Hinkley, California.
This wastewater contained an extreme amount of the element chromium 6. Chromium 6, while naturally occurring, has adverse health effects.
Along with poor waste disposal, the chemical discharges from other practices such as:
- Chrome plating
- Dye and painting pigments
- Inadequate storage
When industrial sites fail to comply with standard operating procedures. The pollution they create can cause harm to the environment.
This harm includes the people and animals who live in surrounding areas. Proper waste disposal techniques are imperative to preventing pollution.
Since 1993, studies have linked the chemical to liver damage and reproductive harm. This harm is due to constant exposure to the element.
A study done in 2015 revealed that workers exposed to chromium 6 showed signs of higher risks of stomach cancer.
Chromium 6 can be harmful to humans and animals alike, even in minute amounts. Health concerns like bashes, burns, skin and stomach cancer, and reproductive complications occur.
These are just some of the hazardous effects of prolonged chromium 6 consumption.
There is no federal standard regulating the consumable amount of chromium 6. But the United States Environmental Protection Agency( EPA) has made efforts in regulation.
It has decided to codify the minimum amount of safely consumable chromium 6.
The EPA has established the maximum contaminant level allowed for chromium six. The total amount of chromium 6 found in drinking water is not to exceed 0.1 milligrams per liter. Or 100 parts per billion.
California lawmakers have taken extra steps to ensure safe drinking water. They established the maximum contaminant level of chromium 6 at 10 parts per billion.
Under the Safe Drinking Water Act, consumers must be provided annual reports. These reports are delivered by individual public or community water suppliers.
These reports must include:
- The current water quality
- Where the water is sourced from
- Any contaminants found in the water
Knowing whether chromium 6 contaminates your water is the first step in providing your family with safe drinking water. There are various at-home testing kits online. Or you can visit your local hardware and home improvement store to find kits close to you.
Check your local area. And speak with a water treatment professional or an experienced EPA-certified treatment lab. The water treatment professionals in your area can answer questions about what contaminants are more prevalent than others.
And which contaminants to be concerned about. Along with ideas for treatment and which filtration devices provide the most benefits.
How to Remove Chromium 6 in Water
Removing chromium 6 from drinking water may seem like a considerable task. But by utilizing the right filtration system, it can filter effectively.
Everyday filtration pitchers and in-door fridge filters are unable to filter chromium 6. But there are various high-end water filtration systems available that are effective.
It may seem tempting to try do-it-yourself or at-home solutions such as boiling or freezing your water to get rid of chromium 6. But these methods will not work.
Chromium 6 requires either ion exchange or reverse osmosis to remove the chemicals.
1. Removing Chromium 6 from Water Using Reverse Osmosis
Reverse Osmosis systems are an excellent way to remove chromium 6 from drinking water. The process usually includes at least one activated carbon and a sediment filter. Carbon filters allow the reduction and removal of large quantities of contaminants at once.
During the RO process, water passes through a semipermeable membrane that restricts particles larger than water molecules.
Reverse osmosis systems are popular as they are effective in removing a wide range of contaminants. These are contaminants like arsenic, fluoride, chromium, and nitrates.
The downside to this type of system is that it produces a large amount of wastewater. Most consumer-grade filtration systems generate up to 15 gallons of unusable water that needs to be drained.
Leading to higher water bills and excess waste. Other drawbacks to this process include:
- Slower than average flow rates
- Challenging installation requiring professional help
- Constant changing of prefilters
There are some disadvantages. But if you have the means to install a reverse osmosis filtration system, the benefits can outweigh the cons. Especially when keeping your family safe from contaminants.
2. Removing Chromium 6 from Water Using Ion Exchange
Another effective way to rid your drinking water of chromium 6 is using an ion exchange water treatment unit. This type of treatment uses tiny resin beads packed tightly inside the columns. Minerals and other contaminants filter through these columns.
The beads act as catch-alls that grab the chemicals as they travel through the filtration system and eliminate them from the water. The drawback to this filtration system is that it requires constant maintenance and cleaning.
This maintenance is because traces of chemicals can build up inside the filter. This buildup then reduces its effectiveness.
Research teams in Glendale, California, tested methods for reducing and removing chromium 6 from groundwater. The team revealed that it will cost an estimated $27 million over the next two decades to fund this effort.
State officials are hopeful that this is a step in the right direction. They are even going so far as to set a public health goal for reducing chromium 6 contamination.
Their goal is to reduce it from 100 parts per billion to a staggering .02 parts per billion.
As for the individual consumer, the cost of removing chromium 6 from drinking water is dependent on the type of water purification or filtration system. Reverse osmosis and Ion exchange systems can be costly.
High-end filtration systems often need to be professionally installed. This installation can rack up a high bill.
Other self-installation filtration systems can cost anywhere from $200 to $500. This price depends on the brand and other market factors.
Here are some common questions about removing Chromium 6 from water.
PUR water filters are certified by the National Science Foundation. They reduce up to 70 chemical substances, but they do not remove chromium 6.
Most faucet and countertop filters that use activated carbon cannot remove chromium 6.
While the Brita filter is highly rated, it uses a carbon filter that is unable to remove chromium 6 from the water.
The simple act of filtration is not enough to remove the pollutant from drinking water. Instead, opt for water purification or treatment such as one found in reverse osmosis.
Berkey water filtration systems actively reduce and remove chromium 6 from the water. Berkey uses a gravity filter.
The water supply at the top drips through the filter into a reservoir chamber. Berkey filters contain upwards of six media types constructed into compact microscopic holes.
Water passes through the holes without allowing pollutants inside. The next step in the process includes an ion exchange.
This exchange attracts the contaminant molecules. The pollutants are absorbed and then permanently bonded to the filter.
Zero Water filters are rigorously tested per the National Science Foundation’s protocols. They claim to remove 99% of chromium from drinking water.
These filters work much like the Berkey filter. It is a filter fed by gravity that has an ion exchange. And it absorbs the pollutants before they reach the reservoir chamber.
The Zero Water and Berkey filters are cost-effective options for removing chromium 6 from drinking water.