A Removal of Phosphorus by Chemical Precipitation

Phosphorus is a very important element that has attracted much attention because of its ability to cause eutrophication in bodies of water. For example, tributaries from as far away as the farmlands of New York feed the Chesapeake Bay in Maryland and Virginia. Because of the use of phosphorus in fertilizers for these farms, the bay receives an extraordinarily large amount of phosphorus input that has triggered excessive growths of algae in the water body. Presently, large portions of the bay are eutrophied. Without any doubt, all coves and little estuaries that are tributaries to this bay are also eutrophied. Thus, it is important that discharges of phosphorus be controlled in order to avert an environmental catastrophe. In fact, the eutrophication of the Chesapeake Bay and the clogging of the Potomac River by blue greens are two of the reasons for the passage of the Federal Water Pollution Control Act Amendments of 1972.

This chapter discusses the removal of phosphorus by chemical precipitation. It first discusses the natural occurrence of phosphorus, followed by a discussion on the modes of removal of the element. The chemical reactions of removal, unit operations of removal, chemical requirements, optimum pH range of operation, and sludge production are all discussed. The chemical precipitation method employed uses alum, lime, and the ferric salts, FeCl3 and Fe2(SO4)3.

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Healthy Chemistry For Optimal Health

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