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This article in NSE

  1. Vol. 39 No. 1, p. 40-44
    Received: Jan 18, 2010

    * Corresponding author(s): liesch@ksu.edu
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Wastewater Phosphorus Removal by Two Different Types of Andesitic Volcanic Tephra

  1. Amanda M. Liesch *
  1. c/o Holly A.S. Dolliver, 307 Agricultural Science, 410 S. 3rd St., River Falls, WI 54022. The work in this paper is part of a larger research project, and the data may be used in a future publication


Phosphorus (P) is the limiting nutrient controlling productivity in most inland freshwater systems. Several materials have been proposed for use to remove excess P from wastewater treatment, including volcanic lapilli and ash (tephra). There is limited data in using tephra as a P filter. There were two objectives of this study: 1) to determine the physical feasibility of tephra as a filter making sure the infiltration rate remains high enough to use under prolonged saturation, and 2) to test the suitability of volcanic tephra as a medium for removing P from an artificial solution on two different volcanic tephra materials: Okato and Papakai tephra. The experiment used a synthetic P influent solution (20.5 mg P/L) and a solution residence time in the columns of approximately 3 hours. By the end of the experiment infiltration in both tephras was adequate for use in wastewater treatment systems. The Okato tephra absorbed nearly 8 mg P/g tephra with 97% of the total amount of P added to the column over a 54 day period. The Papakai tephra absorbed only 4 mg P/g with a 52% of the total P added to the column.

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