Influence of water treatment residuals on phosphorus solubility and leaching

H. A. Elliott, G. A. O'Connor, P. Lu, S. Brinton

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157 Citations (SciVal)


Laboratory and greenhouse studies compared the ability of water treatment residuals (WTRs) to alter P solubility and leaching in Immokalee sandy soil (sandy, siliceous, hyperthermic Arenic Alaquod) amended with biosolids and triple superphosphate (TSP). Aluminum sulfate (Al-WTR) and ferric sulfate (Fe-WTR) coagulation residuals, a lime softening residual (Ca-WTR) produced during hardness removal, and pure hematite were examined. In equilibration studies, the ability to reduce soluble P followed the order: Al-WTR > Ca-WTR ≈ Fe-WTR ≫ hematite. Differences in the P-fixing capacity of the sesquioxide-dominated materials (Al-WTR, Fe-WTR, hematite) were attributed to their varying reactive Fe- and Al-hydrous oxide contents as measured by oxalate extraction. Leachate P was monitored from greenhouse columns where bahiagrass (Paspalum notatum Flugge) was grown on Immokalee soil amended with biosolids or TSP at an equivalent rate of 224 kg P ha-1 and WTRs at 2.5% (56 Mg ha-1). In the absence of WTRs, 21% of TSP and 11% of Largo cake biosolids total phosphorus (PT) leached over 4 mo. With co-applied WTRs, losses from TSP columns were reduced to 3.5% (Fe-WTR), 2.5% (Ca-WTR), and <1% (Al-WTR) of applied P. For the Largo biosolids treatments all WTRs retarded downward P flux such that leachate P was not statistically different than for control (soil only) columns. The phosphorus saturation index (PSI = [Pox]/[Alox + Feox], where Pox, Alox, and Feox are oxalate-extractable P, Al, and Fe, respectively) based on a simple oxalate extraction of the WTR and biosolids is potentially useful for determining WTR application rates for controlled reduction of P in drainage when biosolids are applied to low P-sorbing soils.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1362-1369
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Environmental Quality
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2002

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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