Fluoride and Iron Removal Technology | UPSC

Fluoride and Iron Removal Technology | UPSC


CSIR-CMERI comes up with High Flow Rate Water Purification Technology for Fluoride and Iron Removal

      WHY IN NEWS:

CSIR-CMERI for the very first time has come up with a dual solution (excess F and Fe3+ mitigation from ground water).

MINISTRY? :- Ministry of Science & Technology
SYLLABUS COVERED: GS 3: Science and Technology


For PRELIMS go through the significance of iron and fluoride in this context . Look at the principle and keep an eye on the working .

For MAINS what are the harmful impacts of iron and fluoride when consumed for longer durations ? How does it effect Rural India ; where majority of drinking water consumed is groundwater ! Let us dive in .


The contamination of fluoride and iron in drinking water is increasing day by day.


  • The present invention reveals about proper design and development of a water purification system.

It is an integrated, low-cost, commonly available multi-adsorbent based community level (high flow rate) water purifier.

  • It is effective and simultaneously removes fluoride and iron (below WHO permissible limit) in an efficient manner from contaminated water.


  • Iron is the most abundant trace element in human body.
  • It is responsible for vital biological functions such as gastrointestinal processes and the regulation of body temperature.
  • But when iron level in water is beyond 0.3 ppm (as per WHO guideline), it shows several adverse effects .

Adverse effects include liver disease, irregular heart rhythm and neuronal disorder etc.


  • Restricted dose of fluoride ( less than 1.5 ppm, as per WHO guideline) in drinking water is required for proper growth.

Fluoride is responsible for strengthening of teeth and bones in human body.

  • But intake of excess fluoride can affect human health profusely by causing dental and skeletal fluorosis initially.
  • On a longer run , it leads to a crippling malady (sickness).
  • About 60-70 million people of India have been indicated to be at excess (fluoride) F threat.
  • The groundwater in rural habitations distributed in various states of India are found to be contaminated with elevated fluoride concentration.
  • Therefore, there is a need of affordable water purification technology for fluoride and iron removal.


  • The present invention relates to an integrated approach towards design and development of a community level water treatment plant .

It has high flow rate (10,000 litre/hr) to remove fluoride and iron from contaminated water bodies and the process thereof.

  •  Three FRP (Fibre Reinforced Plastic) made vessels of specific dimensions has been set up here in series with each other, which are:

i) Chamber-I (oxidation chamber),

ii) Chamber-II (Iron removing filter) and

iii) Chamber-III (Fluoride removing filter).


  • The oxidation chamber contains manganese oxide enriched ores within the permissible limit.
  • This acts as an oxidising agent (screens out metal contaminants like Fe2+).

The Iron removal filter contains naturally abundant lowcost adsorbent materials such as gravels and treated sand of specific diameter.

  • Lastly, the Fluoride removal filter also contains several low cost adsorbent materials .
  • These adsorbent materials are : activated alumina, ferrite impregnated activated alumina (FIA, a patented product from CMERI) and zinc impregnated activated charcoal.
  • Thus , in sequential manner to the fluoride materials are mitigated with the residual fluoride from groundwater.


  • A hypochlorite dosing pump with dosing in proper proportions and micron filter are installed in line with the mentioned vessels for disinfection of targeted contaminated water.

Hypochlorite is used in permissible range in place of chlorine gas for safety reasons.

  • To meet the high demand of fluoride free cost effective drinking water focus was to achieve 10,000-12,000 litre/hour flow rate of the purified water.
  • The flow is being continuously monitored by installing a flow meter.

Fluoride and Iron Removal Technology | UPSC


  • The CSIR-CMERI developed Fluoride and Iron removal system is comprised of three staged purification system.
  • The first FRP make vessel (Chamber-I)is for rapid removal of precipitated iron.
  • The next one(Chamber-II) is one of the most crucial chambers for removal of the left over iron from the contaminated water.

In final stage fluoride will be removed from contaminated ground water by ‘fluoride removal unit’ (Chamber-III).

  • In the third stage ;  the adsorbents will fulfil the purpose of fluoride mitigation.


  • An initiative towards solving dual contaminants problem in ground water (F as well as Fe3+)

The integrated adsorbent based water purification system is effective removal of fluoride as well as iron .

  • It removes both of them in an efficient manner from contaminated water bodies.
  • High flow rate (10,000 litres/h) integrated purification system.
  • Sustainability towards healthy livelihood generation.
  • Selective backwash without dismantling any part of the plant.

      IASbhai WINDUP: 

  • The developed plant is successfully able to mitigate iron from an initial concentration of ~9 ppm to less than 0.3 ppm (safe limit of Fe as per WHO guideline).
  • The fluoride content also was reduced from initial ~12 ppm to <1.5 ppm (safe limit of F– as per WHO guideline).
     SOURCES:PIB | Fluoride and Iron Removal Technology | UPSC



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