Phosphorus Retention by Wetland Soils used for Treated Wastewater Disposal
- P. M. Gale *,
- K. R. Reddy and
- D. A. Graetz
Wetlands function as buffers for nutrients loaded from terrestrial ecosystems through drainage and surface discharges. The objectives of our study were to (i) determine the P retention capacity of representative wetland soils being used for disposal of treated wastewater and (ii) relate P retention characteristics to selected physicochemical properties to evaluate likely mechanisms of P removal in the soils. Intact soil cores (0–40 cm) and bulk soil samples (0–15 cm) were collected from a system of natural and constructed wetlands currently being used for disposal of treated wastewater. Floodwater P concentrations of the intact soil cores were monitored over time to determine the rate of P removal. Batch experiments were conducted to determine maximum P retention capacity of the soils. Soil samples were analyzed for inorganic P pool sizes, and selected physicochemical properties. During a 21 d hydraulic retention time, the constructed wetlands (sandy, low organic matter soils) retained 52 to 66% of added P, as compared with 46 to 47% retained by the natural wetlands (high organic matter soils). The P retention maximum, as estimated using the Langmuir model, ranged from 196 to 1821 mg P kg−1 (aerobic incubations) and from 32 to 1415 mg P kg−1 (anaerobic incubations). The P sorption maximum for these soils could be predicted by batch equilibration with a single high P solution. Anaerobic conditions increased P solubility. Organic P pools and the Fe-Al-bound fraction seemed to control P chemistry in these natural and constructed wetlands.
Copyright © . .