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Author Topic: Can clay absorb phosphorus?  (Read 9897 times)

Offline efharisto

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Can clay absorb phosphorus?
« on: 23/01/2009 00:47:41 »
Is there anyone that can shed some light on phosphate  adsorption by clay?  Is it at all possible that water containing 1080 ug/IP of phosphorous total to run through clay soil , this water to be collected two hours later having run through the clay soil, with its phosphorous total reduced to 70 ug/IP?
I have read that phosphate has a high affinity to clay but I am not sure how extensive is the phosphate adsorption by clay .
If anyone knows could you please give me some information or post an answer here
thanks
« Last Edit: 03/02/2009 18:55:33 by chris »


 

Offline Bass

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Re: Can clay absorb phosphorus?
« Reply #1 on: 23/01/2009 03:28:16 »
The Phosphoria Formation, one of the largest sources of phosphate ore in the U.S., is primarily a shale- derived from clays.  I believe phosphate adsorption is enhanced by the presence of iron and/or aluminum hydroxides.

Perhaps this will help answer some of your questions:
http://prr.hec.gov.pk/Chapters/93-5.pdf

BTW, welcome to the fourm.
 

Offline efharisto

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Re: Can clay absorb phosphorus?
« Reply #2 on: 23/01/2009 04:16:48 »
Thank you Bass for you reply. It has been invaluable. If you know of any other information relating to my query please , please let me know.

« Last Edit: 29/01/2009 22:54:23 by efharisto »
 

Offline Bass

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Re: Can clay absorb phosphorus?
« Reply #3 on: 30/01/2009 00:38:07 »
Years ago, while working in ustrangeium (uranium) exploration, I found several prospects with strong mineralization just below an unconformity surface.  Uranium was deposited as uranyl-phosphate complexes (autunite-torbenite-parsonite) along fault zones, especially in high gouge areas (gouge is extremely ground up rock- rock flour).  It's my belief that phosphate was adsorbed onto the clay particles in the gouge, and the phosphate, in turn, caused precipitation of the uranium.  The undisturbed wall rocks alongside the faults contain neither phosphate or uranium.
My point to all this is that I think I have seen cases where clay minerals can adsorb large amounts of phosphorous by secondary processes.
 

Offline efharisto

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Re: Can clay absorb phosphorus?
« Reply #4 on: 30/01/2009 00:50:20 »
Thank you Bass for your reply. The purpose of my inquiry is as follows. I have water running into my basement on a daily basis. This flow is constant irrepspective of the weather [i.e. rain or lack of rain]. The water company is claiming that the water is not from their assets as it has low phosphorous total compared to the levels present in the tap water .
I have been trying for months now to find someone to give me some solid information so that i can actually counter their assertions.
If anyone else has any more information regarding this matter could you please, please, let me know.
Again, thank you Bass for your contribution
George
 

Offline Bass

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Re: Can clay absorb phosphorus?
« Reply #5 on: 30/01/2009 05:02:23 »
George
Sounds like the water company is trying to avoid liabilities.

Can you do anything else to eliminate natural causes?  How long has the water been flowing into the house?
Are there natural springs or seeps in the area?
Do you live in a flat area, or on a hillside?
Where is the nearest water main?  Is it uphill?
What is the bedrock?  How deep are the soils? 
Do any of your neighbors have a similar problem?
Are there other chemicals you could use to trace the source of the water?  Chlorine? Fluorine?  Ca?  Mg? 

We need JimBob to get his feet wet on this one- he's an old hand at hydrology, perhaps he has some ideas.

Any possibility of providing a map or Google Earth image?  Topo would be even better.
 

Offline efharisto

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Re: Can clay absorb phosphorus?
« Reply #6 on: 30/01/2009 09:07:49 »
you are right. My opinion has been that the water company is trying to avoid liability.
The water has been flowing into the house for over 12 months, the flow has been increasing slowly every week, irrespective of the weather. even when we had a dry spell of 2 months when no rain fell, the flow kept increasing.
I estimated that the flow of water is approximately 1.5cubic meters per day!!!!
We dye tested the nearby drains but it is not water from these drains. The water company claims it is ground water.
If you run a google earth search 69 FOLJAMBE ROAD ,ROTHERHAM,ENGLAND, you can see  the elevation of my property . there are properties only 20 -30 metrs away that lie 5 meters lower and there is no ground water problem.
None of my neighbours has any problems with water entering their premises.
My property is the last in a terrace of properties and it is at the bottom of a slight hill [elevation at the top of the street is 46 meters ,where by the way I think the water is coming from. The elevation of my property is 40 meters]
Thereare water mainswhere thewater can come from, two of which are at the top of the street, and one which is only 5 meters away frommy property.
The properties in this area are all built on clay. When we dug the basement to try and stop the flow of water we found solid clay.
I carried out my own private analysis of the water in the basement.
these are the elements found in it:
Hardness Total 260  mg/l
Calcium Dissolved (ICP-MS) 61000 ug/l
Magnesium Dissolved (ICP-MS) 26000 ug/l
Phosphorus Total <0.05 mg/l
Total Alkalinity as CaCO3 120 mg/l
Conductivity (at 20 deg.C) 0.60  mS/cm
Chloride 33 mg/l
Ammoniacal Nitrogen as N <0.2 mg/l
pH Value 7.30
chloroform  4 ug/l
The water company claims that because the phosphorus total is very low and the trihalomethanes are low i.e chloroform , then the water cannot be drinking water.
However the chloride levels [33 mg/l]are consistent with the drinking water levels . The chloride levels for the tap water is approximately 30 mg/l
The presence of chloroform [4 ug/l] is also an indicator of the water being treated water. The chloroform  present in the tap water is approximately 12 ug/l. I have read that chloroform does evaporate quite quickly once released into the environment. The water company claims that chloroform can infiltrate the water as it flows through the clay and into my property.
These are the facts. If you can look at them and are able to come to soemconclusion I would greatly appreciate it as this problem has caused me great stress.
Once again many thanks Bass
 

Offline efharisto

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Can clay absorb phosphorus?
« Reply #7 on: 08/02/2009 02:01:24 »
Hi Bass,
Have you had a chance to read my last posting?
Maybe you can give me some idea of what this problem could be. Can ground water run 24 hours a day for over a year and affect just one property without any effect on the neighbouring properties?
Are there any experts on groundwater that you might now?
All I am asking for is some guidance guys. It is not easy to take on a big company and win. So . please help!!!
 

Offline Bass

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Can clay absorb phosphorus?
« Reply #8 on: 08/02/2009 05:33:13 »
Efharisto-I'm sorry for not replying sooner.

Hard to believe this is not being caused by a leak in the water system.  Two things seem particularly suspicious
a)the fact that the flow is increasing, no matter what the weather; and b) the fact that only your property is being affected.  Almost has to be from a water leak.  You'd think the water company would want to stop the loss of that much water.

Our local water company uses an acoustic surveyor to locate leaks (http://www.subsurfaceleak.com/find_leaks.html).  They are pretty good at finding leaks with this system.  Other systems include conductivity and ground penetrating radar.  You should ask your water company to run an acoustic check- or it might be worth your time to hire a professional to do the job (if there is a leak, you could collect the fee from the water company).  Without some resolution, this is likely to end up damaging the street or your property.

I checked Google Earth- nothing remarkable, and I certainly didn't notice anything unusual that could account for the source of water.  Do you happen to know the average depth to the water table in your neighborhood (any holes been drilled)?

Chloride levels seem very high for natural groundwater- and much closer to municipal systems where chlorine is added for sanitation.  I assume your water is chlorinated?

Don't know enough about chloroform to give you an opinion.  But, in my opinion, the phosphorous and chloroform levels don't rule out the water system.

I'm hoping that JimBob will eventually add his expertise here, his expertise in hydrology could prove valuable to you.

Best of luck to you.
 

Offline Bored chemist

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Can clay absorb phosphorus?
« Reply #9 on: 08/02/2009 10:37:28 »
Ask the water company where the 4 ppb of chloroform comes from if not chlorinated water. It's not a naturally occuring material (except at very low levels).
Also how were the samples packaged when they were sent for analysis?
Chloroform is very volatile and will diffuse through some plastics. It may be that the chloroform levels were much higher in the original sample than when it got to the laboratory.

Phosphate can be absorbed by clay - it is also very actively absorbed by plants.
 

Offline efharisto

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Can clay absorb phosphorus?
« Reply #10 on: 08/02/2009 10:41:58 »
Thank you for the latest reply. These are the constructive comments I want to receive to build a case to counter the conclusions of the water company.
Please keep them coming .EVERY COMMENT CAN BE USEFUL
 

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Can clay absorb phosphorus?
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