The reduction of internal phosphorus loading using alum in Spring Lake, Michigan.

Journal of environmental quality

PubMedID: 15537926

Steinman A, Rediske R, Reddy KR. The reduction of internal phosphorus loading using alum in Spring Lake, Michigan. J Environ Qual. 2004;33(6):2040-8.
The release of P from lake sediments, which occurs as a part of internal loading, may contribute a significant portion of the total P load to a lake. Phosphorus release rates from sediments in Spring Lake, Michigan, and the degree to which alum reduces P release from these sediments, were investigated during the summer of 2003. Triplicate sediment cores were sampled from four sites in the lake, and exposed to one of four treatments in the laboratory: (i) aerobic water column/alum, (ii) aerobic water column/no alum, (iii) anaerobic water column/alum, or (iv) anaerobic water column/no alum. Total P (TP) release rates were virtually undetectable in the alum treatments (both aerobic and anaerobic). Low, but detectable, release rates were measured in the aerobic/no alum treatment. The highest release rates were measured in the anaerobic/no alum treatments, and ranged from 1.6 to 29.5 mg P m(-2) d(-1) depending on how the calculations were derived. These fluxes translated to mean internal loads that ranged between 2.7 (low range) and 6.4 (high range) Mg yr(-1) when extrapolated to a whole-lake basis. Internal P loads accounted for between 55 and 65% of the total P load to Spring Lake. Although alum is a potentially effective means of reducing the sediment source of P, there is considerable uncertainty in how long an alum treatment would remain effective in this system given the current rates of external loading and the lack of information on wind-wave action and bioturbation in Spring Lake.