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Environmental Pollution
Vol. 176, No. xx, 2013; Pages: 267–274

Aluminum sulfate (alum) application interactions with coupled metal and nutrient cycling in a hypereutrophic lake ecosystem

Geraldine Nogaro1, Amy J. Burgin2, Valerie A. Schoepfer2, Matthew J. Konkler, Katlin L. Bowman, Chad R. Hammerschmidt

Department of Earth & Environmental Sciences, Wright State University, 3640 Colonel Glenn Highway, Dayton, OH 45435, USA.


Many lake ecosystems worldwide experience severe eutrophication and associated harmful blooms of cyanobacteria due to high loadings of phosphorus (P). While aluminum sulfate (alum) has been used for decades as chemical treatment of eutrophic waters, the ecological effects of alum on coupled metal and nutrient cycling are not well known. The objective of our study was to investigate the effects of an in-situ alum treatment on aluminum and nutrient (P, N, and S) cycling in a hypereutrophic lake ecosystem. Our results indicate that the addition of alum along with sodium aluminate (as a buffer) increased dissolved aluminum and sulfate in the surface and pore waters, and altered nitrogen cycling by increasing nitrous oxide (N20) concentrations in the surface water. The increase of aluminum and sulfate may potentially feedback to alter benthic community dynamics. These results enhance our understanding of the unintended ecological consequences of alum treatments in hypereutrophic freshwater ecosystems.

Keywords:Aluminum; Sulfate; Nutrient; Algae bloom; Eutrophication; Lake restoration.

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