Partitioning of phosphorus between particles and water in a river outflow
The mixing zone between Cayuga Lake, N.Y. and one of its tributaries, Salmon Creek, was studied to determine effects of physical processes such as adsorption, precipitation or sedimentation on phosphorus discharged by the Creek. A high sodium concentration in the lake served as a natural tracer, by which proportions of Creek and Lake water were determined at any point in the mixing zone. Proportions of Creek and Lake water were used to predict amounts of P that would be expected on the basis of mixing alone. Differences between predicted and observed concentrations were attributed to local physical processes. This analysis showed that, in several of the six plumes surveyed, there was substantial loss of P due to sedimentation. The P-distribution in all plumes showed evidence of exchanges between particles and the medium, as a result of which soluble reactive-P usually decreased and soluble unreactive-P usually increased. The nature and magnitude of these local processes were such that they could have significant effects on the fate of stream-P discharged into the lake.
Keywordsmixing zone particulate-P soluble reactive-P soluble unreactive-P Cayuga Lake
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