Effect of natural dissolved organic carbon on phosphate removal by ferric chloride and aluminum sulfate treatment of wetland waters

Journal Article (Journal Article)

The use of wetlands for the removal of excess N and P has become widespread. Some sensitive P-limited ecosystems, however, may require additional reductions in the concentration of P entering the system. It has been proposed that the treatment of wetlands through addition of ferric chloride or aluminum sulfate can augment the natural P removal mechanisms. However, high concentrations of natural dissolved organic matter may interfere with the removal of P by metal addition. We evaluated the doses of ferric chloride and aluminum sulfate necessary to reduce total P concentrations below 0.32 μM (10 μmg/L) in water from the Northern Everglades, and we determined the effect of various concentrations (21, 38, and 60 mg/L) of natural dissolved organic carbon (DOC) on the removal of PO4 and total P. High concentrations of natural DOC inhibited both the short-term removal of PO4 and the longer-term removal of total P from the water column. Similar results were observed using 15 μmM citric acid in an experiment to determine whether citric acid could effectively mimic the inhibition of phosphorus removal associated with natural DOC. Stoichiometry of these experiments indicates that the mechanism of natural DOC interference was not complexation of the metal ions by the DOC; we hypothesize that it could be adsorption to the terminal hydroxyl groups on a polynuclear Fe or Al colloid, effectively blocking the adsorption sites from a phosphate molecule. Also, the ability of citric acid to mimic the inhibitory effects also suggests that the results of the study are broadly applicable to wetland and other waters with high natural organic acid concentrations. Copyright 2009 by the American Geophysical Union.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Qualls, RG; Sherwood, LJ; Richardson, CJ

Published Date

  • September 1, 2009

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 45 / 9

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0043-1397

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1029/2008WR007287

Citation Source

  • Scopus