Boron in Water


Source of Boron in Water: The generic term “boron” refers to the boron content in boron-containing compounds and to elemental boron. In natural waters, boron exists primarily as boric acid and also borate ions. Naturally occurring boron is present in groundwater primarily as a result of leaching from rocks and soils containing borates and borosilicates. Fracking activities use borate salts that could contaminate groundwater. Boron compounds can leach into groundwater from pesticides, fertilizer runoff, sewage, and coal industries. Boron (Borax) is used in many household cleaning and laundry solutions. 

Effects of Boron in Water: Elemental boron and borates in water is non-toxic to humans and animals unless consumed in extremely high amounts. Boron is suspected but has not been directly proven of being a trace nutrient in humans. Large doses (on the order of 20 mg/kg or more) can cause nausea and vomiting. Chronic low-level oral exposure causes developmental defects in animal subjects. Boron-contaminated irrigation water can cause a toxic response to plants grown hydroponically. Because boron in drinking water is tasteless and invisible, water supplies should be tested to determine its level. 

How to Remove Boron: The best methods for removing Boron in drinking water are anion exchange filtration or a reverse osmosis system. For industrial water treatment, anion exchange resin in the strong base form (OH+) can be used to remove boron from water. The regeneration process requires hydrochloric acid or sulfuric acid for regeneration to remove the boron from the resin. This method is not recommended for residential water treatment applications.