Volume 98, Issue 4
  • ISSN: 0002-9637
  • E-ISSN: 1476-1645



We assessed the ability of sodium dichloroisocyanurate (NaDCC) to provide adequate chlorine residual when used to treat groundwater with variable iron concentration. We randomly selected 654 tube wells from nine subdistricts in central Bangladesh to measure groundwater iron concentration and corresponding residual-free chlorine after treating 10 L of groundwater with a 33-mg-NaDCC tablet. We assessed geographical variations of iron concentration using the Kruskal–Wallis test and examined the relationships between the iron concentrations and chlorine residual by quantile regression. We also assessed whether user-reported iron taste in water and staining of storage vessels can capture the presence of iron greater than 3 mg/L (the World Health Organization threshold). The median iron concentration among measured wells was 0.91 (interquartile range [IQR]: 0.36–2.01) mg/L and free residual chlorine was 1.3 (IQR: 0.6–1.7) mg/L. The groundwater iron content varied even within small geographical regions. The median free residual chlorine decreased by 0.29 mg/L (95% confidence interval: 0.27, 0.33, < 0.001) for every 1 mg/L increase in iron concentration. Owner-reported iron staining of the storage vessel had a sensitivity of 92%, specificity of 75%, positive predictive value of 41%, and negative predictive value of 98% for detecting > 3 mg/L iron in water. Similar findings were observed for user-reported iron taste in water. Our findings reconfirm that chlorination of groundwater that contains iron may result in low-level or no residual. User reports of no iron taste or no staining of storage containers can be used to identify low-iron tube wells suitable for chlorination. Furthermore, research is needed to develop a color-graded visual scale for iron staining that corresponds to different iron concentrations in water.

[open-access] This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.


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  • Received : 06 Dec 2016
  • Accepted : 20 Dec 2017

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