Academic journal article Journal of Environmental Health

Water Treatment Residues May Curb Phosphorus Runoff

Academic journal article Journal of Environmental Health

Water Treatment Residues May Curb Phosphorus Runoff

Article excerpt

Residue from water treatment plants, often discarded as waste into landfills, may make good soil treatments for preventing phosphorus runoff from farms.

Agricultural Research Service (ARS) soil scientist Jeffrey M. Novak, of the ARS Coastal Plains Soil, Water and Plant Research Center in Florence, South Carolina, is studying an alum-based water treatment residual that increases the capacity of soil to bond phosphorus, a vital plant nutrient.

The studies, done in collaboration with Ray Bryant, research leader at the ARS Pasture Systems and Watershed Management Research Unit in University Park, Pennsylvania, may benefit states along the nation's mid-to-southern-Atlantic seaboard, where sandy soils generally take up and hold less phosphorus than finer-textured soils.

Increased bonding, or adsorption would curb runoff of phosphorus. This nutrient can lower the oxygen content of water bodies and spoil the taste of drinking water. Phosphorus in manure makes agricultural facilities, such as large livestock production operations, potential sources of runoff pollution. …

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