Phosphorus Transition

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3. Transport pathways in different environmental media
Generally, Phosphorus enters the environment through three basic pathways; Air, Water, and Soil. Specifically in the Watershed Nature Centre, Phosphorus is observed to be leached through the soil and resident in the water sediment with periodical release into the water body.
a. Air
In general, phosphorus is not likely to spread, because it reacts with oxygen fairly quickly. When phosphorus ends up in air through exhausts it will usually react with oxygen right away to be converted into less harmful particles. However, when phosphorus particles are in air they may have a protective coating that prevents chemical reactions.
b. Water
As studied in the Watershed
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Factors affecting transport of the pollutant at Watershed Nature Centre a. Physical factors: Parent material, water circulation, colour,
Parent material: Phosphate salts that are released from rocks through weathering usually dissolve in soil water and are absorbed by surrounding plants. Because the quantities of phosphorus in soil are generally small, it is often the limiting factor for plant growth. This limiting condition or low bioavailability can be as a result of Oxides of Iron and Aluminium in the soil which has a very high affinity and can be strongly absorbed by their amorphous compound. That is why humans often apply phosphate fertilizers on farmland.
Water circulation: Water circulation as induced by wind and rainfall affect the rate at which phosphorus is transported. Also, heat from solar radiation can also affect water circulation within lakes, this indirectly effecting the mixing of phosphorus contained in the water column. Shallow lakes, lakes less than few meters deep, do not stratify or form layers. As typical the case of the watershed nature centre, thereby resulting to stagnancy of phosphorus in the water column, especially deep down its sediment for periodic recharge to its
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Anthropogenic sources of phosphorus include lawn fertilizer, wastewater, and urban storm water. Some of the chemical characteristics of water include pH, dissolved oxygen, and essential nutrients.
Water pH: The pH level of water is influenced by the soil and rocks in the watershed and lake bed. Examples include calcite (CaCO3) which will release carbonates (CO32-) increasing the water’s pH, and minerals with sulfide that form sulfuric acid (H2SO4) and lower the pH (Caine, et al., 1987). From the Watershed Nature centre, it can be deduced that the PH of the water column is low and might contain metals such as aluminum (Al3+), mercury (Hg22+) and zinc (Zn2+) thereby thereby increasing the rate of phosphorus sorption to water sediment.
Pollutant form and Plant decomposition: Existing in phosphate form (PO43- and HPO42-), phosphorus moves slowly from deposits on land and in sediments, into the soil and water sediment. It has a high sorption rate to sediments especially with a low PH column. Additional factor adding phosphorus to the water is by plants, through decomposition, creating a

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