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Assessment of iron-modified calcite/zeolite mixture as a capping material to control sedimentary phosphorus and nitrogen liberation

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Calcite/zeolite mixture (CZ) can be used to construct a capping layer for the simultaneous management of phosphorus (P) and nitrogen (N) liberation from sediments into the overlying water (OVER-water). However, its control efficiency of sedimentary P release still needs to be improved. To address this issue, an iron-modified CZ (Fe-CZ) was synthesized, characterized, and employed as a capping material to simultaneously prevent P and N release from sediments into OVER-water. Batch and microcosm incubation experiments were performed to study the efficiency and mechanism for the control of P and N release from sediments by capping Fe-CZ. Results showed that sediment capping with Fe-CZ resulted in the significant reduction of soluble reactive P (SRP) and ammonium-N (NH3-N) in OVER-water, with reduction rates of 77.8–99.7% and 54.0–96.7%, respectively. Furthermore, the Fe-CZ capping layer decreased the SRP concentration in the pore water (PORE-water) at depth of 0–30 mm and reduced the concentration of PORE-water NH3-N at depth of 0–50 mm. Moreover, the Fe-CZ capping layer gave rise to the great decrement of the concentration of the labile P measured by DGT (diffusive gradient in thin films) technology (P-DGT) in the profile of OVER-water and sediment. Additionally, the Fe-CZ capping resulted in the reduction of redox-sensitive P (P-BD) in the 0–50 mm sediment and caused the transformation of P-BD to calcium-bound P (P-HCl) and residual P (P-RES) in the 0–10 mm sediment as well as to P-RES in the 10–20 mm sediment. Results of this work indicate that the Fe-CZ capping has a high potential for the simultaneous management of P and N release from sediments, and the decrease of the contents of sediment P-DGT, sediment P-BD, PORE-water SRP and PORE-water NH3-N as well as the conversion of mobile P to more stable P in the top sediment should have a significant role in the simultaneous interception of sedimentary P and N liberation into OVER-water by the Fe-CZ capping.

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This research was financially supported by the Shandong Key Scientific and Technical Innovation Project (2018YFJH0902), the Shanghai Natural Science Foundation (15ZR1420700), the National Science Foundation of China (50908142 and 51408354), and the Scientific Research Project of Shanghai Science and Technology Committee (10230502900).

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Correspondence to Jianwei Lin.

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Zhan, Y., Yu, Y., Lin, J. et al. Assessment of iron-modified calcite/zeolite mixture as a capping material to control sedimentary phosphorus and nitrogen liberation. Environ Sci Pollut Res 27, 3962–3978 (2020).

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  • Sediment
  • Phosphorus
  • Nitrogen
  • Release
  • Iron-modified calcite/zeolite mixture
  • Capping
  • Simultaneous control