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Assessment of sediment capping with zirconium-modified bentonite to intercept phosphorus release from sediments

Lin, Jianwei, He, Siqi, Zhan, Yanhui, Zhang, Zhe, Wu, Xiaolong, Yu, Yang, Zhao, Yuying, Wang, Yan
Environmental science and pollution research international 2019 v.26 no.4 pp. 3501-3516
bentonite, phosphorus, sediments
Three different types of zirconium-modified bentonites (ZrMBs) including zirconium-modified original bentonite (ZrMOB), zirconium-modified magnesium-pretreated bentonite (ZrMMgB), and zirconium-modified calcium-pretreated bentonite (ZrMCaB) were synthesized and used as active covering materials to suppress the release of phosphorus (P) from sediments. To assess the covering efficiency of ZrMBs to inhibit P release from sediments, we examined the impact of ZrMB covering layer on P mobilization in sediments at different depths as well as the release of P through the interface between sediment and overlying water (SWI) by use of simulating P release control experiments and diffusive gradients in thin films (DGT) technology. The results showed that the amount of soluble reactive P (SRP) in the overlying water greatly decreased after covering with ZrMBs. Moreover, both pore water SRP and DGT-liable P (DGT-P) in the top sediments decreased after capping with ZrMBs. An obvious stratification of DGT-P was observed along the vertical direction after covering with ZrMBs, and static and active layers were found in the top sediment and in the lower sediment directly below the static layer, respectively. Furthermore, ZrMB covering led to the change of P species from easily released P to relatively or very stable P, making P in the top sediment more stable compared to that without ZrMB covering. Besides, an overwhelming majority of P immobilized by ZrMBs is hard to be re-released into the water column in a common environment. Overall, the above results demonstrate that sediment covering with ZrMBs could effectively prevent the transport of SRP from sediments into the overlying water through the SWI, and the control of P transport into the overlying water by ZrMB covering could be mostly due to the immobilization of pore water SRP, DGT-P, and mobile P in the top sediment by ZrMBs.