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Journal of Environmental Quality Abstract - Waste Management

Solid Phosphorus Phase in Aluminum- and Iron-Treated Biosolids


This article in JEQ

  1. Vol. 36 No. 2, p. 549-556
    Received: Apr 17, 2006

    * Corresponding author(s): shenker@agri.huji.ac.il
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  1. Xiao-Lan Huangab,
  2. Yona Chena and
  3. Moshe Shenker *a
  1. a Dep. of Soil and Water Sciences, Faculty of Agricultural, Food and Environmental Quality Sciences, The Hebrew Univ. of Jerusalem, Rehovot 76-100, Israel
    b Cooperative Institute of Marine and Atmospheric Studies, Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science, Univ. of Miami, Miami, FL 33149


Stabilization of phosphorus (P) in sewage sludge (biosolids) to reduce water-soluble P concentrations is essential for minimizing P loss from amended soils and maximizing the capacity of the soil to safely serve as an outlet for this waste material. The chemical form at which P is retained in biosolids stabilized by Al2(SO4)3·18H2O (alum) or FeSO4·7H2O (FeSul) was investigated by scanning electron microscopy (SEM) equipped with energy-dispersive X-ray elemental spectrometry (EDXS) and by X-ray diffraction (XRD). Both treatments resulted in the formation of a Ca-P phase, probably brushite. Phosphorus was further retained in the alum-treated biosolids by precipitation of an Al-P phase with an Al/P molar ratio of about 1:1, while in the FeSul-treated biosolids, P was retained by both precipitation with Fe/P molar ratios of 1:1 or 1.5:1, and by adsorption onto newly formed Fe hydroxides exhibiting an Fe/P molar ratio of up to 11:1. All of these mechanisms efficiently reduced P solubility and are crucial in biosolids environmentally safe agronomic beneficial use for this waste product; however, each P phase formed may react differently in the amended soil, depending on soil properties. Thus, the proper P stabilization method would depend on the target soil.

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