Phosphorus recovered from wastewater can be reused on agricultural land
February 15, 2022 – Phosphorus is one of the main “ingredients” for healthy plant growth. Plants draw phosphorus from the soil. And much of that phosphorus is applied to agricultural fields as fertilizer. Today’s main source of phosphorus, which comes from rock, is running out. In addition, it must be extracted, then chemically converted and transported over long distances. It costs money and uses valuable resources. February 15 from the Soil Science Society of America (SSSA)and The Soils Matter blog looks at research that creates a circular cycle of phosphorus through the recovery of struvite.
Bloggers Kristofor R. Brye, University of Arkansas, and Lauren Greenlee, Pennsylvania State University, talk about their research on the recovery of phosphorus – in the form of struvite – in treatment plants used waters.
Research is investigating other ways to recover phosphorus, for example in the form of struvite. important nutrients for crops
Wastewater treatment plants work to purify water so it can be reused. They are subject to strict Environmental Protection Agency standards. Scientists have discovered that it is not only possible to extract struvite from wastewater, but it can be done on a large scale. Brye and Greenlee’s teams used chemical and electrochemical methods to precipitate struvite from wastewater.
Their field studies have also shown that the slow release of phosphorus from struvite can benefit the environment.
2022 marks the 50th anniversary of the Clean Water Act. This law aims to restore and maintain the physical, chemical and biological integrity of the country’s water resources. Struvite could play a future role in achieving Clean Water Act goals. Struvite can also play a vital role in supporting the sustainability of agriculture and food production with recycled nutrient fertilizer sources.
Research into struvite and its uses will help feed people and protect the environment, just as the Clean Water Act intended.
Drs. Brye and Greenlee recently published their research in Agrosystems, Geosciences & Environment Journal, a publication of the American Society of Agronomy and the Crop Science Society of America. To learn more about this important work, visit the Soils Matter blog: https://soilsmatter.wordpress.com/2022/02/15/what-is-struvite-and-how-is-it-used.
Soil Science Society of America, Crop Science Society of America, and American Society of Agronomy celebrate the law by collecting blogs, news, and research articles here. Be sure to subscribe to the Soils Matter blog for up-to-date information: https://soilsmatter.wordpress.com.