Supply of phosphorus to the water column of a productive hardwater lake: controlling mechanisms and management considerations

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Department of Civil, Environmental, and Geospatial Engineering


Onondaga Lake is a hypereutrophic, industrially polluted lake located in Syracuse, NY. High hypolimnetic concentrations of H2S that develop after anoxia restrict the accumulation of total Fe2+ due to the formation of FeS, and may limit Fe-PO4 interactions. High water column concentrations of Ca2+ and high rates of CaCO3 deposition occur due to inputs of Ca2+ from an adjacent soda ash manufacturing facility. Patterns of P concentration and other water chemistry parameters in the lower waters, and results from chemical equilibrium calculations, suggest that Ca-PO4 minerals may regulate the supply of P from sediments to the water column in Onondaga Lake. These findings have important management implications for Onondaga Lake. First, declines in water column Ca2+ concentrations due to reductions in industrial CaCl2 input may result in conditions of undersaturation with respect to Ca-PO4 mineral solubility and increases in the release of P from sediments to the water column. Second, introduction of O2 from hypolimnetic oxygenation, as a lake remediation initiative, may enhance P supply from sediments, because of increased solubility of Ca-PO4 minerals at lower pH.

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