Phosphorous is an essential component in agriculture. It is an essential component of plant life. It is used in agriculture as a component in fertilizers, manure and organic waste. However, phosphorous has some adverse effects when the concentrations are high on the surface water. A high concentration of phosphorous will speed up eutrophication. This means the dissolved oxygen in the water bodies is reduced, caused by organic and mineral nutrients in high water bodies. This process can speed up the growth of algae hence making the water poisonous for human consumption. Therefore, Phosphorous can get into the water bodies of plants in different ways. For instance, through soil erosion, where the phosphorous from the soil gets into the water bodies.
Secondly, it can get into the water through bank erosion. Mainly during floods, the soil from the banks contains phosphorous. Therefore during floods, phosphorous is transported from river banks adjacent land and gets to the river or lake. Moreover, phosphorous can get into surface water from groundwater. When the phosphorous concentrations are too high in the groundwater, they can get to the surface water, reducing its water quality.
Phosphorous in water has various effects; for instance, they lead to livestock death and increase purification costs. Also, it is toxic for human consumption due to the lethal effect of algal. Finally, leads to decreased recreational value. Gladly, phosphorous can be removed from wastewater by chemical precipitation. This method is expensive. However, there’s an alternative method called biological phosphate removal.
This method of removal involves the use of multivalent ions such as calcium, aluminium, and iron. Chemical precipitation involves the removal of the inorganic forms of phosphate. This is achievable by adding coagulant, then mixing wastewater with a coagulant
Biological phosphate removal
This method involves the incorporation of phosphorus into cell biomass. It is later removed from the process due to sludge wasting. In the rector configuration, the P accumulating organism can grow to be advantageous over the bacteria and consume the bacteria. It is then passed through the anaerobic and aerobic zone. Where the phosphorous is then removed.
Here is how to remove or reduce phosphorous from ponds
There are many methods of phosphorous removal from surface waters, such as ponds. For instance, mechanical dredging, the use of aluminium salts, and a Phoslock. All these methods effectively work in the removal of phosphorus from surface water and improving the water quality.
Mechanical dredging is an expensive and disruptive method. However, it is the most direct to remove the unconsolidated sediment layer. It involves pond aeration to speed the breakdown of organic matter and prevent the accumulation of extra nutrients. it can be used in conjunction with naturally occurring or introduced beneficial bacteria. However, because algal blooms require very little phosphorus, these methods alone are unlikely to be adequate to reduce phosphorus loading in severely damaged ponds.
Secondly, there’s the use of aluminium salts to reduce or mitigate phosphorous from pond water. Also, to control its release from sediments. The effects of nutrient deposition on bodies of water can be reversed using this method of phosphorus elimination. It does, however, have limitations, particularly in shallow ponds. Alum treatments are most effective at pH values of 4 to 6, significantly lower than a typical nutrient-rich pond (about 7 to 8). After alum treatment, the pH of ponds with low alkalinity may drop, and hazardous soluble forms of aluminium may become more abundant. Therefore,bio-accumulating and killing aquatic creatures. Storm events or water currents can cause alum’s flocculent characteristics to be disrupted. This allows phosphorus to be released back into the water column. Therefore, it is essential to have repeated applications since aluminium applications are not permanent.
Third, a more effective method is called Phoslock that involves the use of lanthanum modified bentonite clay. It can be put to the water surface as a granule or a slurry to connect with free reactive phosphorus. Lanthanum binds to phosphate molecules to generate rhabdophane. It is a mineral that is exceptionally stable at in situ pH values. Lanthanum binds to phosphate molecules to generate rhabdophane pH values. Unreacted lanthanum is buried in bentonite granules, which sink to the pond’s bottom to produce a porous layer. It will continue to bind and sequester phosphorus when it escapes the sediments. Therefore, in comparison to alum application, lanthanum is more effective since it does not rely on the ph of water bodies.
In conclusion, excessive phosphorous is harmful to aqua creatures, also for human consumption. Therefore, it is essential to reduce phosphorous from water bodies. This helps preserve life.