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high fluoride levels in borehole water



have hit dangerously high fluoride levels in borehole water. Any knowledge or techniques on "appropriate technology" treatment of fluoride (or even detection before drilling) is most welcome!

regards Paul

4 Answers


This is a very tricky one. It is possible to remove fluoride but can only think of very expensive solutions e.g. by Reverse Osmosis or a specific ion exchange resin.

Could attempt to try and partially solve this one with dilution from other sources with a lower fluoride content.

As always there is a need to balance risks to health - what are considered to be 'dangerous' levels here and what are the other risks to health. I mention this as quite often safety standards for chemicals have a lot of 'safety factor' built in. If the risk from microbial disease is great then the risk from fluoride may be relatively small. Without results I cannot comment further.

I would expect really high fluoride levels to be localised - whatever the source of the fluoride. So moving location may solve the problem or at least reduce concentrations. The other thing that may help is to pump the borehole hard for, say, several weeks? i.e. is the fluoride really in the groundwater or just localised to borehole area (contamination - e.g. by drilling muds etc.).

High levels of fluoride are fairly uncommon but expected in areas of volcanic activity (hydrothermal), mining operations for metal ores and contamination from industry (e.g. aluminium smelters particularly bad). If entirely natural then the problem is probably going to be difficult or impossible to solve - if man made then there is potential for remedies by reducing contamination.


Paul may like to look at: (has a link to download the document)

and the article in Sandec News 7 from




The simplest way to remove fluoride for domestic water supply is using activated charcoal and most effectively, bone char. This, while simple to do is a logistical nightmare, but the Catholic Diocese of Naivasha in the Kenyan Rift Valley where there are serious fluorosis problems, have developed a system for collecting and regenerating the bone char. Apart from the difficulty of controlling the process if carried out at the community level, there is also the problem of the fluorine released during regeneration. A report is available here:

A report was also produced as a result of some studies undertaken in Ghana by students from a university in New York, which I am trying to get a copy of.




You may go through this comprehensive article about fluoride removal