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Journal of Environmental Quality Abstract - Waste Management

Phosphorus Leaching from Biosolids-Amended Sandy Soils


This article in JEQ

  1. Vol. 31 No. 2, p. 681-689
    Received: May 14, 2001

    * Corresponding author(s): hae1@psu.edu
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  1. H. A. Elliott *a,
  2. G. A. O'Connorb and
  3. S. Brintonb
  1. a Agric. and Biol. Eng. Dep., Pennsylvania State Univ., University Park, PA 16802
    b Soil and Water Science Dep., Univ. of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32611


Increasing emphasis on phosphorus (P)-based nutrient management underscores the need to understand P behavior in soils amended with biosolids and manures. Laboratory and greenhouse column studies characterized P forms and leachability of eight biosolids products, chicken manure (CM), and commercial fertilizer (triple superphosphate, TSP). Bahiagrass (Paspalum notatum Flugge) was grown for 4 mo on two acid, P-deficient Florida sands, representing both moderate (Candler series: hyperthermic, uncoated Typic Quartzipsamments) and very low (Immokalee series: sandy, siliceous, hyperthermic Arenic Alaquods) P-sorbing capacities. Amendments were applied at 56 and 224 kg PT ha−1, simulating P-based and N-based nutrient loadings, respectively. Column leachate P was dominantly inorganic and lower for biosolids P sources than TSP. For Candler soil, only TSP at the high P rate exhibited P leaching statistically greater (α = 0.05) than control (soil-only) columns. For the high P rate and low P-sorbing Immokalee soil, TSP and CM leached 21 and 3.0% of applied P, respectively. Leachate P for six biosolids was <1.0% of applied P and not statistically different from controls. Largo biosolids, generated from a biological P removal process, exhibited significantly greater leachate P in both cake and pelletized forms (11 and 2.5% of applied P, respectively) than other biosolids. Biosolids P leaching was correlated to the phosphorus saturation index (PSI = [Pox]/[Alox + Feox]) based on oxalate extraction of the pre-applied biosolids. For biosolids with PSI ≤ approximately 1.1, no appreciable leaching occurred. Only Largo cake (PSI = 1.4) and pellets (PSI = 1.3) exhibited P leaching losses statistically greater than controls. The biosolids PSI appears useful for identifying biosolids with potential to enrich drainage P when applied to low P-sorbing soils.

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Copyright © 2002. American Society of Agronomy, Crop Science Society of America, Soil Science SocietyPublished in J. Environ. Qual.31:681–689.