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Phosphorus sorption by peat and sand amended with iron oxides or steel wool

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Efficient removal of nutrients from municipal sewage treatment plant wastewater is needed to protect surface waters from eutrophication, but artificial peat beds designed for this purpose have proved unsuccessful for phosphorus removal. Laboratory studies were conducted to evaluate the feasibility of adding iron oxides or steel wool to peat and sand to increase phosphate sorption. Langmuir-type batch isotherms and column leaching studies showed that preformed rust and untreated steel wool markedly increased phosphorus sorption by peat and sand, with the steel wool-peat combination removing the most phosphorus under realistic, leaching conditions. Estimated useful lives for the ironamended materials ranged from zero years for unamended sand to several years for steel wool-amended peat, depending on quantities of iron material added. The results suggested that steel wool offers a low-cost, efficient amendment for peat and sand beds designed for phosphorus removal from wastewater.

Keywords: isotherms; rust; sorption; tertiary treatment; wastewater; wetlands

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: July 1, 1992

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  • Water Environment Research® (WER®) publishes peer-reviewed research papers, research notes, state-of-the-art and critical reviews on original, fundamental and applied research in all scientific and technical areas related to water quality, pollution control, and management. An annual Literature Review provides a review of published books and articles on water quality topics from the previous year.

    Published as: Sewage Works Journal, 1928 - 1949; Sewage and Industrial Wastes, 1950 - 1959; Journal Water Pollution Control Federation, 1959 - Oct 1989; Research Journal Water Pollution Control Federation, Nov 1989 - 1991; Water Environment Research, 1992 - present.
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