Increasing attention is being focused on the phosphorus retention capacity of wetlands. Several attempts have been made to improve the reduction of phosphorus in wastewater by the use of constructed wetlands. One way of improving the phosphorus reduction capacity is to use efficient filter materials in the wetland. Leca® (Light Expanded Clay Aggregates) has been tested in Norway, where laboratory and field investigations gave promising results. To further study the chemical removal mechanism of Leca, an experiment utilising five columns was performed. A phosphate solution was applied to the columns intermittently and samples were taken twice a week. Parallel to this study, a P-fractionation experiment was conducted to find out how the phosphate was sorbed to various components of the material. Both experiments showed that only a small amount of the applied phosphate was sorbed by the Leca. The amount sorbed was primarily attached to Al-complexes. In a second column experiment Opoka, a reactive medium rich in CaCO3, was added to Leca and sand to investigate the P-sorption capacity. The results from this investigation showed a higher P-uptake than in the previous column experiment. The lime additive clearly increased the P-sorption and, in this study, Leca in its pure form could be considered as chemically non-reactive.

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