Controlling eutrophication by combined bloom precipitation and sediment phosphorus inactivation

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The hypothesis that the combination of the flocculent polyaluminium chloride (PAC) with the lanthanum-modified bentonite Phoslock® (Flock & Lock) could sink effectively a water bloom of cyanobacteria and could shift a turbid, cyanobacteria infested lake to a clear water lake was tested in a controlled laboratory experiment and a whole lake experiment. In the laboratory, a relatively low dose of the flocculent PAC (2.2 and 4.4 mg Al l-1) was insufficient to sediment positively buoyant cyanobacteria (Microcystis aeruginosa). Similarly, the lanthanum modified clay (dosed at 390 mg l-1) was insufficient to sediment the positively buoyant cyanobacteria. However, the combination of PAC and Phoslock® effectively sedimented cyanobacteria flocks. Likewise, a combined treatment of 2 tons PAC and 18 tons Phoslock® in Lake Rauwbraken in April 2008 effectively sedimented a developing cyanobacteria bloom of Aphanizomenon flos-aquae. The average chlorophyll-a concentration in the two years prior to this Flock & Lock treatment was 19.5 (±36.5) µg l-1, while it was as low as 3.7 (±4.5) µg l-1 in the years following the treatment. The combined treatment effectively reduced the amount of total phosphorus (TP) in the water column from on average 169 (±126) µg P l-1 before the application to 14 (±15) µg P l-1 after the treatment. Based on mean summer chlorophyll-a and TP concentrations, the lake was shifted from a eutrophic/hypertrophic state to an oligo/mesotrophic state. From directly after treatment in April 2008 until and including 2013, Lake Rauwbraken remained in an oligo-mesotrophic clear water state with TP reduced to less than 10% of the pre-treatment. This result shows that eutrophication in relatively small, isolated, stratifying lakes can be restored by targeting both water column and sediment P using a combination of flocculent and solid phase P-sorbent
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)6527-6537
JournalWater Research
Issue number17
Publication statusPublished - 2013


  • lakes
  • surface water quality
  • eutrophication
  • cyanobacteria
  • sedimentation
  • flocculation
  • lanthanum
  • bentonite
  • tests
  • phosphorus
  • ecological restoration
  • noord-brabant
  • prymnesium-parvum haptophyceae
  • harmful cyanobacterial blooms
  • dissolved organic-matter
  • rare-earth-elements
  • of-the-art
  • microcystis-aeruginosa
  • lake restoration
  • local soils
  • polyaluminum chloride
  • phosphate adsorption


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