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Long-term effects of drinking-water treatment residuals on dissolved phosphorus export from vegetated buffer strips

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<mark>Journal publication date</mark>04/2015
<mark>Journal</mark>Environmental Science and Pollution Research
Issue number8
Number of pages9
Pages (from-to)6068-6076
Publication StatusPublished
Early online date13/11/14
<mark>Original language</mark>English


The export of dissolved phosphorus (P) in surface runoff from agricultural land can lead to water quality degradation. Surface application of aluminium (Al)-based water treatment residuals (Al-WTRs) to vegetated buffer strip (VBS) soils can enhance P removal from surface runoff during single runoff events. However, the longer-term effects on P removal in VBSs following application of products such as Al-WTR remain uncertain. We used field experimental plots to examine the long-term effects of applying a freshly generated Al-WTR to VBSs on dissolved P export during multiple runoff events, occurring between 1 day and 42 weeks after the application of Al-WTR. Vegetated buffer strip plots amended with Al-WTR significantly reduced soluble reactive P and total dissolved P concentrations in surface runoff compared to both unamended VBS plots and control plots. However, the effectiveness of Al-WTR decreased over time, by approximately 70 % after 42 weeks compared to a day following Al-WTR application. Reduced performance did not appear to be due to drying of Al-WTR in the field. Instead, the development of preferential flow paths as well as burying of Al-WTR with freshly deposited sediments may explain these observations. Better understanding of the processes controlling long-term P removal by Al-WTR is required for effective management of VBSs.