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Phosphate Removal from Nursery Runoff Water Using an Iron-Based Remediation System

Soil and Water Sciences Department, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32611, USA
United States Horticultural Research Laboratory, United States Department of Agriculture, Fort Pierce, FL 34945, USA
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Water 2019, 11(4), 795;
Received: 22 March 2019 / Revised: 8 April 2019 / Accepted: 12 April 2019 / Published: 17 April 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Irrigation and Water Resources Management of Landscape Plants)
PDF [761 KB, uploaded 17 April 2019]


Phosphorous (P) losses from containerized plant production nurseries can be significant due to the low nutrient retention capacities of the media components. As environmental regulators establish, refine, and enforce nutrient criteria, effective methods are needed to reduce amounts of P in runoff and drainage water. This study investigated the use of a small scale flow-through ferrous iron (Fe(II))-based remediation system for chemically precipitating P. This system consisted of four inter-connected tanks, with the first two maintained under anaerobic conditions and the last two maintained under aerobic conditions. FeSO4 was introduced into the first of the aerobic tanks at different rates to achieve Fe:P ratios of 0, 9.0, 16.3, and 21.2. Water samples were collected from the systems, and P removal was monitored by ion chromatography. Phosphorus removal efficiencies of 78, 95, and 99% were observed for each respective treatment, indicating great potential for this conceptual system at Fe:P dosing ratios ≥16.3 and phosphorus concentrations between 3 and 5 mg/L. This type of system may especially be useful for nurseries with space limitations. View Full-Text
Keywords: nutrient; P; mitigation nutrient; P; mitigation

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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).

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Ordonez Hinz, F.; Albano, J.P.; Wilson, P.C. Phosphate Removal from Nursery Runoff Water Using an Iron-Based Remediation System. Water 2019, 11, 795.

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