Phosphorus removal with by-products in a flow-through setting

Dustin Stoner, Chad Penn, Joshua McGrath, Jason Warren

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

62 Scopus citations


Phosphorus (P) losses to surface waters can result in eutrophication. Some industrial by-products have a strong affinity for dissolved P and may be useful in reducing nonpoint P pollution with landscape-scale runoff filters. Although appreciable research has been conducted on characterizing P sorption by industrial byproducts via batch isotherms, less data are available on P sorption by these materials in a flow-through context integral to a landscape P filter. The objectives of this study were to evaluate several industrial by-products for P sorption in a flow-through setting, to determine material chemical properties that have the greatest impact on P sorption in a flow-through setting, and to explore how retention time (RT) and P concentration affect P removal. Twelve materials were characterized for chemical properties that typically influence P removal and subjected to flow-through P sorption experiments in which five different RTs and P concentrations were tested. The impact of RT and P concentrations on P removal varied based on material chemical properties, mainly as a function of oxalateextractable aluminum (Al), iron (Fe), and water-soluble (WS) calcium (Ca). Statistical analysis showed that materials elevated in oxalate-extractable Al and Fe and WS Ca and that were highly buffered above pH 6 were able to remove the most P under flowthrough conditions. Langmuir sorption maximum values from batch isotherms were poorly correlated with and overestimated P removal found under flow-through conditions. Within the conditions tested in this study, increases in RT and inflow P concentrations increased P removal among materials most likely to remove P via precipitation, whereas RT had little effect on materials likely to remove P via ligand exchange.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)654-663
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Environmental Quality
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 2012

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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