Iron filings application to reduce lake sediment phosphorus release

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Natarajan P, Gulliver JS, Arnold WA. 2021. Iron filings application to reduce lake sediment phosphorus release. Lake Reserv Manage. XX:XXX–XXX. Surface water impairments due to excess phosphorus loading from the watershed and internal recycling from sediments have been reported worldwide. This study investigated the application of iron metal filings to lake sediments as a method to control sediment phosphorus release. Using batch studies, a zero-valent iron filings material was selected for laboratory dosing experiments with lake sediment cores. Iron filings doses of 0 (control), 0.01, 0.1, and 1 g/cm2 were added to sediment cores collected from a eutrophic lake in Minnesota, United States, to determine the impacts of iron addition on the oxic and anoxic phosphate (PO4-P) flux at 20 C and 10 C in the laboratory. Under oxic conditions, PO4-P release did not occur from the sediments, and low water column PO4-P concentrations were maintained in the iron-dosed and control cores. After switching to anoxic conditions, the 0.1 and 1 g/cm2 iron doses continued to reduce or fully prevent sediment PO4-P flux. The enhanced supply of iron in the sediments was found to reduce the porewater PO4-P, resulting in no apparent PO4-P diffusion across the sediment–water interface and low PO4-P in the overlying water under oxic and anoxic conditions. Further evaluation using in situ experiments is needed to assess the effectiveness of iron filings addition in sequestering sediment phosphorus under natural conditions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalLake and Reservoir Management
StateAccepted/In press - 2020

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Jerry Spetzman (Chisago County Environmental Services, MN) provided access to the Rush Lake water quality data. The lake sediment coring was supported by the University of Minnesota LacCore. Thanks to Prof. R. Lee Penn and Jeanette Voelz (UMN Department of Chemistry) for providing access to the XRD and assistance with the XRD sample analysis. The authors also thank the editors and anonymous reviewers for providing constructive feedback on the article.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 North American Lake Management Society.


  • Internal loading
  • iron filings
  • iron treatment
  • phosphorus inactivation
  • phosphorus release
  • sediment

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