Clay-based phosphorus (P) sorbents have been increasingly used as geoengineering materials for the management sediment-derived internal P loading in eutrophic lakes. However, the long-term behavior of these sorbents has remained elusive along with their response to burial under suspended particulate matter (SPM), and their effect on macroinvertebrate communities occupying dynamic regions at the sediment-water interface of shallow and turbid lakes. In this study, field mesocosm experiments were undertaken in Lake Chaohu, China, to study the effects of the application of lanthanum-modified bentonite (LMB) and thermally-modified calcium-rich attapulgite (TCAP) on sediment internal P loading and to assess their influence on macroinvertebrate community structure. A complementary laboratory core incubation study was also undertaken to investigate the effects of SPM deposition on LMB and TCAP performance. In the field, both LMB and TCAP effectively intercepted P released from sediment for up to five months. A P fractionation analysis indicated that LMB and TCAP application results in a substantial increase in inert P fractions in sediment. Laboratory studies indicated that deposition of SPM may increase in mobile P both in the upper sediment and across the new post-SPM deposition sediment-water interface. Importantly, a comparison of sediment chemical extractions and estimated P fluxes suggests that chemically-defined forms of P in the sediment may be used as a proxy to estimate the net sediment P flux. Significantly, the surficial application of either LMB or TCAP did not cause negative effects on macroinvertebrate communities. This study indicates that to sustain a low P flux across the sediment-water interface in shallow, turbid lakes, repeat dosing of geoengineering materials, temporally aligned to the deposition of fluvial SPM, may be required.
Financed by the National Centre for Research and Development under grant No. SP/I/1/77065/10 by the strategic scientific research and experimental development program:
SYNAT - “Interdisciplinary System for Interactive Scientific and Scientific-Technical Information”.