• water policy/regulation/decision making;
  • arsenic;
  • Maine;
  • removal technology costs;
  • private wells;

ABSTRACT: This study was undertaken to investigate the cost effectiveness of selected arsenic avoidance methods. Annual costs of reverse osmosis (RO), activated alumina (AA), bottled water, and rented and purchased water coolers for various household sizes in Maine were compared. Relative ranking of systems shows that RO ($411 annually) is the most cost effective, followed by AA ($518) and one-gallon jugs of water ($321 to $1,285), respectively, for households larger than one person. One-gallon jugs ($321) followed by 2.5-gallon jugs ($358) of water were found to be the most cost effective for households of one person or for households with arsenic III concentrations of 0.02 to 0.06 mg/L and arsenic V concentrations of 0.08 to 1.0 mg/L. Point-of-entry systems and water coolers were not found to be cost effective under any of the study's conditions. The research reported here will help states make more definitive treatment recommendations to households regarding the cost effectiveness of alternative treatment systems to reduce arsenic concentrations below 0.01 mg/L. While arsenic removal technologies are improving, which enhances removal rates and reduces costs, the major insights from this analysis appear to be reinforced by technological improvements.