Alternative Technologies for Phosphorus Removal from Agricultural Effluents
Investigators: Aleksandra Drizo, Mike Vayda and Don Ross

The overall goal of this research project is to reduce the phosphorus (P) concentration of dairy farm effluent to environmentally acceptable levels. Additional objectives are to assess treatment efficiency of pilot scale electric arc furnace (EAF) steel slag filter systems in P removal, to evaluate changes in their seasonal performance, and to determine the optimal filter design for achieving maximum treatment efficiency.

Dissolved reactive P (DRP) retention by EAF steel slag in four filters receiving SSF-CW treated influent (average P concentration 36.5 mg/L) averaged 75%. The two filters receiving a non-wetland treated dairy effluent also showed very high DRP reduction (70-75%). There have been no statistically significant differences in filter DRP retention capacity related to the direction of flow through the filter (vertical upwards & downwards). Comparisons between filters receiving SSF-CW treated water (four filters) and non-treated water (two filters) have shown no significant difference in DRP retention, demonstrating the filters efficiency to treat dairy effluent as "stand alone units".

The filters also demonstrated their potential in Zn, S and Cu removal from dairy effluent as they achieved an average of 50-55% removal efficiency for these pollutants. For more information please contact Graduate student Dave Weber (dweber@uvm.edu) or Aleksandra Drizo (adrizo@uvm.edu).

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