Arsenic and manganese in shallow tubewells: validation of platform color as a screening tool in Bangladesh

Md Annaduzzaman*, Prosun Bhattacharya, Ashis Biswas, Mohammed Hossain, Kazi Matin Ahmed, Doris van Halem

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

19 Citations (Scopus)


This study aimed to evaluate the potential of handpump tubewell platform color as a low-cost, quick and convenient screening tool for As and Mn in drinking water tubewells. For this study, groundwater samples and corresponding tubewell platform pictures were collected from 272 shallow tubewells in Matlab Upazila of South-Eastern Bangladesh. The result shows that arsenic concentration within the surveyed (n = 272) tubewells, 99% (n = 269) exceeded the World Health Organization (WHO) guideline value of 10 µg/L, and 98% (n = 267) exceeded the Bangladesh drinking water standards (BDWS) of 50 µg/L. In relation to the platform color concept, within 233 (total 272) red colored platform tubewells, 230 (99%) exceeded the WHO guideline value of 10 µg/L, and 229 (98%) tubewells exceeded BDWS of 50 µg/L. This result shows a strong correlation between the development of red color stain on tubewell platform and As concentrations in the corresponding tubewell water. This study suggests that red-colored platform can be used for primary identification of tubewells with an elevated level of As and thus could prioritize sustainable As mitigation management in developing countries where water comes from reductive shallow aquifers. This study did not confirm the potential for Mn screening, as red discoloration by Fe oxides was found to mask the black discoloration of Mn oxides. It is recommended to further investigate this screening tool in regions with a higher well-to-well variability of As contaminations, as in the presented study As was found >10ug/L in 99% of the tubewells.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)181-188
Number of pages8
JournalGroundwater for Sustainable Development
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2018


  • Arsenic
  • Groundwater
  • Manganese
  • Mitigation
  • Screening
  • Tubewell platform color


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