Originally published in: J. N. Am. Benthol. Soc., 2006, 25(2):304–312

Release of P from lake sediments may account for a significant portion of a lake’s total P (TP) load. Previous studies using sediment cores showed that ;65% of the total P load entering Spring Lake, Michigan, came from the sediments, and that an alum concentration of 24 mg Al/L effectively inactivated P release in experimental sediment-core tubes. In 2004, we studied the influence of alum concentration and sediment resuspension on P release rates from the sediments. Based on laboratory incubations using alum concentrations of 0, 5, 10, 15, 20, and 25 mg/L, we determined that P release rates at alum concentrations 15 mg/L were no different than at release rates at concentrations of 25 mg/L. Resuspension of sediments substantially increased TP concentrations, even at high alum concentrations, but total soluble P concentrations remained low in the water when alum was present. Alum application may be an effective tool to reduce P flux from sediments in shallow lakes, but external P load reduction must accompany alum application to address the long-term impacts associated with cultural eutrophication.


Internal Phosphorus Loading, Alum, Shallow Lakes, Cultural Eutrophication, Sediment Resuspension, Michigan


Fresh Water Studies