Water Resources Research Act Program

Details for Project ID 2015ND297B

Biopolymers for Phosphate Removal from Eutrophic Lakes

Institute: North Dakota
Year Established: 2015 Start Date: 2015-03-01 End Date: 2016-02-29
Total Federal Funds: $12,608 Total Non-Federal Funds: $25,217

Principal Investigators: Achintya Bezbaruah

Abstract: Eutrophication of lakes is a major problem in North Dakota. North Dakota's major industry is agriculture and it ranks first in the nation in the production of many crops, including spring wheat, durum, barley, sunflowers, dry edible beans, pinto beans, flaxseed, canola and honey. North Dakota is also an important producer of sugar beets, potatoes and oats. There are 1.7 million heads of cattle, 160,000 pigs and 88,000 sheep in North Dakota. Farms and ranches occupy more than 39 million acres, almost 90% of North Dakota's land area. P- and N-containing fertilizers used in agriculture and runoff from animal feedlots and firms make North Dakota one of the eutrophication-prone states. According to the North Dakota Department of Health (NDDH), ~52% (87 lakes) of the assessed lakes are eutrophic and ~17% (29 lakes) are hypereutrophic. Of the 95.5% of the lakes and reservoirs assessed, 56% are considered threatened.Typical methods for phosphate removal from wastewater include biological treatments, chemical precipitation (with aluminum, iron and calcium salts, adsorption, and reverse osmosis. Chemical treatment methods for aqueous phosphate removal are widely practiced using chemicals like lime, alum, and ferric chloride. However, biological treatments and chemical precipitation are generally not suitable for low concentration phosphate removal, and reverse osmosis is capital intensive. There is a significant gap in technology to remove low concentrations P from waters, specifically from eutrophic lakes. Recently considerable attention has been focused on the study of biological materials including biopolymers as adsorbents for removing pollutants and they are promoted as cost-effective and eco-friendly. Objectives include: 1. To investigate the phosphate sorption characteristics of Sodium alginateFe (II) composite beads (FCA)beads 2. To identify the sorption and desorption mechanisms 3. To determine the feasibility of using FCA beads in eutrophic lakes' reclamation 4. To evaluate the FCA beads for phosphate removal from wastewater and animal feedlot effluent 5. To measure the bioavailability of sorbed P for possible reuse in agriculture This research work will enable us to alleviate the problem of eutrophication of lakes as well as the problems stemming from point sources. In addition to dealing with eutrophication, this research will contribute towards reclaiming phosphorus.