Emerging technologies for removing nonpoint phosphorus from surface water and groundwater: Introduction

Anthony R. Buda, Gerwin F. Koopmans, Ray B. Bryant, Wim J. Chardon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

67 Scopus citations


Coastal and freshwater eutrophication continues to accelerate at sites around the world despite intense efforts to control agricultural P loss using traditional conservation and nutrient management strategies. To achieve required reductions in nonpoint P over the next decade, new tools will be needed to address P transfers from soils and applied P sources. Innovative remediation practices are being developed to remove nonpoint P sources from surface water and groundwater using P sorbing materials (PSMs) derived from natural, synthetic, and industrial sources. A wide array of technologies has been conceived, ranging from amendments that immobilize P in soils and manures to filters that remove P from agricultural drainage waters. This collection of papers summarizes theoretical modeling, laboratory, field, and economic assessments of P removal technologies. Modeling and laboratory studies demonstrate the importance of evaluating P removal technologies under controlled conditions before field deployment, and field studies highlight several challenges to P removal that may be unanticipated in the laboratory, including limited P retention by filters during storms, as well as clogging of filters due to sedimentation. Despite the potential of P removal technologies to improve water quality, gaps in our knowledge remain, and additional studies are needed to characterize the long-term performance of these technologies, as well as to more fully understand their costs and benefits in the context of wholefarm-and watershed-scale P management.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)621-627
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Environmental Quality
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 2012

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Water Science and Technology
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Pollution
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


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