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Distribution and Release Characteristics of Phosphorus in a Reservoir in Southwest China

State Key Laboratory of Hydraulics and Mountain River Engineering, Sichuan University, Chengdu 610065, China
China University of Petroleum-Beijing at Karamay, Karamay 834000, China
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16(3), 303;
Received: 19 November 2018 / Revised: 13 January 2019 / Accepted: 16 January 2019 / Published: 23 January 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Water Quality Improvement and Ecological Restoration)
PDF [2298 KB, uploaded 27 January 2019]


Dam construction changes the nutrient transport of a river system. Phosphorus is an important fundamental material in the global biochemical cycle and is always a limiting factor in the primary productivity of reservoirs. Extending the study of phosphorus in reservoirs is necessary given the dam construction in southwest China. Zipingpu Reservoir was chosen as the research site in this study. The form and distribution of phosphorus in the reservoir’s surface sediments and overlying water were analyzed. The results showed that overall, the total phosphorus (TP) content of surface sediments in the Zipingpu Reservoir decreased from the tail to the front of the dam. The TP content ranged from 682.39 to 1609.06 mg/kg, with an average value of 1121.08 mg/kg. The TP content at some sampling points was affected by exogenous input. Inorganic phosphorus (IP) was the main form of phosphorus in surface sediments and had a proportion of 89.38%. Among the forms of IP, the content of Ca-P was larger than that of O-P; Ex-P, Fe-P, and Al-P had the lowest contents. Particulate phosphorus (PP) was the main form of phosphorus in the overlying water of the Zipingpu Reservoir and was strongly affected by hydrodynamic conditions. The content of total dissolved phosphorus (TDP) in the overlying water was relatively low. To further understand the risk of phosphorus release in the surface sediments in the reservoir, the rate and flux of phosphorus exchange at the sediment-overlying water interface were investigated through laboratory experiments. The results showed that both water temperature and pH significantly affected the sediment release rate, but the influence of water temperature was more significant. Acidic and alkaline conditions were conducive to the release of phosphorus from sediment, while a neutral environment was not. The release rate significantly increased with increasing water temperature, and a positive linear relationship was found between these two parameters. The sediment exhibited absorption characteristics when the water temperature was extremely low and exhibited releasing characteristics at a high temperature. These results could provide a theoretical basis for the management and protection of reservoir water environments. View Full-Text
Keywords: phosphorus; distribution; release characteristics; reservoir; sediment; overlying water phosphorus; distribution; release characteristics; reservoir; sediment; overlying water

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Wang, Y.; Li, K.; Liang, R.; Han, S.; Li, Y. Distribution and Release Characteristics of Phosphorus in a Reservoir in Southwest China. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16, 303.

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