Phosphate removal by peat from peat mining drainage water during overland flow wetland treatment

Kaisa Heikkinen (Corresponding Author), Raimo Ihme, Anna-Mari Osma, Helinä Hartikainen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

37 Citations (Scopus)


Overland flow technique, which involves conducting wastewater across a natural mire, has during the recent years been widely used in Finland to decrease the loading of P and other elements from peat mining areas to the watercourses. In this study the applicability of laboratory tests in estimating the P retention by overland flow areas was assessed at a site in northern Finland. The ability of peat to retain PO4-P was determined by adsorption isotherms, and the data were compared with the actual decreases in P loads obtained in the field.
The PO4-P retention curves obeyed rather well the conventional adsorption models, which suggests that sorption can be an important mechanism removing PO4-P from the peat mining drainage water during overflow treatment. The Freundlich equation gave a better fit to the P sorption than did the one-surface Langmuir model. The constants describing the sorption characteristics of the peat showed spatial and temporal variation. They indicated, however, that the theoretical effective P sorption time for the overland flow area can be 20 to 25 yr.
The ability of peat to retain P increased with increasing concentrations of oxalate extractable Fe and Al. Sorption reactions were found to be important in the annual decreases in PO4-P from drainage waters in an overland flow area, but their efficiency in removing P from the peat mining drainage water appears to depend on hydrological conditions. In the first experimental year, the sorption calculated from the isotherm data amounted to 60% of the retention obtained in the field.
Owing to the high flow conditions in the second year, the decrease in the loading of P in the field was decisively lower than estimated
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)597-602
JournalJournal of Environmental Quality
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1995
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


Dive into the research topics of 'Phosphate removal by peat from peat mining drainage water during overland flow wetland treatment'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this