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The U.S. livestock industry in many states has large confined animal populations in limited geographic areas. This trend has resulted in a concentration of manure production and the possibility of over-application of manure to soils. Over-application of manure may result in an accumulation of soil phosphorus (P) much higher than crop P nutrient requirements. Incidental losses of P from fields with excess soil P concentrations into water bodies have raised environmental concerns about decreased water quality. P losses have been reduced from manure-treated fields using water treatment residual (WTR) material. Water treatment residual material consists of river sediments (silts and clays) that have been flocculated using alum [Al2(SO4)3] during drinking water purification processes. Alum-treated WTR material can effectively bind P because it contains Al-oxides. Our objective was to determine the inorganic-P sorption characteristics of WTR material and WTR material mixed with a Norfolk soil. The P sorption data were fitted to a Langmuir equation to determine P sorption maxima (Pmax) values. The WTR material had a high Pmax value of 215 mg P g−1. In contrast, the unamended Norfolk soil had a relatively low Pmax value of < 0.9 mg P kg−1. Adding WTR material to Norfolk soil at 5 and 10% (w/w) resulted in an increase in Pmax values to 5 and 8 mg P g−1, causing a 5- to 9-fold increase in the Pmax compared to unamended soil. These results imply that alum-treated WTR material can bind large amounts of inorganic-P and can be a useful amendment to increase the Norfolk soil's P sorption capacity.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 01 January 2003

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