Defense Date


Graduation Date

Winter 12-18-2020


Immediate Access

Submission Type


Degree Name



Environmental Science and Management (ESM)


Bayer School of Natural and Environmental Sciences

Committee Chair

David M. Kahler

Committee Member

Theodore Corcovilos

Committee Member

Michael Van Stipdonk


Aluminum Sulfate, Augmented Bentonite, Fluoride, Fluoride Removal, Water Resource, Water Treatment


High fluoride concentrations in drinking water affect millions of people around the world. The World Health Organization recommended a fluoride concentration in drinking water of ≤ 1.5 mg/L; fluoride above this concentration can cause long-term dental and skeletal fluorosis. Fluoride imparts no taste to water; therefore, people do not realize that they are ingesting high fluoridated water. Researchers sought to develop a material to remove fluoride from drinking water through sorption. Aluminum was used to form a double ionic layer on the bentonite clay surface. Once mixed in contaminated water, a coagulant, ferric sulfate, was used to separate the bentonite by coagulation and flocculation. For use in a point-of-use format, calcium hypochlorite was tested to reduce potential pathogens. Fluoride reduction was tested in the laboratory with deionized water or synthetic groundwater with sodium fluoride added, and in the field with natural fluoride-rich water from Tanzania, by an ion selective electrode. The augmented bentonite could also be used in public water treatment. Ultimately, researchers hope to recommend a centralized treatment technology that will reduce fluoride and potential pathogens.

The community of Olkokola, in the Arusha region of Tanzania, was investigated to gain a greater understanding of residential life. Researchers investigated water use and perceptions through household surveys and interviews with the local water board. The results indicated significant problems with consistent access to water proximal to residents. Olkokola residents experience electrical interruptions, water collection issues, a lack of water treatment, hygiene problems, and erosion issues.