Eutrophication caused by excess phosphorus (P) loading poses a serious environmental risk to freshwater bodies around the world. While conventional P-removal technologies often satisfy maximum effluent levels of 1,000 μg-P/l, the resulting environmental P concentrations can still contribute to eutrophication. The challenge remains to achieve low total P levels of ≤ 10 μg-P/l in very large water flows. This issue is often exacerbated by the presence of unreactive organic phosphorus. The authors critically assess innovative developments in advanced oxidation, adsorption, biological uptake, and ion exchange for their ability to achieve very low total P concentrations in high-flow systems. Adsorption appears to have the greatest potential for near-term implementation. Biological uptake and ion exchange show promise based on laboratory-scale research and may be long-term options. Pretreatment using advanced oxidation may be valuable in converting organic P to the more readily removable orthophosphate form.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)409-441
Number of pages33
JournalCritical Reviews in Environmental Science and Technology
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2013


  • adsorption
  • biological uptake
  • eutrophication
  • ion exchange
  • phosphate
  • phosphorus

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Water Science and Technology
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Pollution


Dive into the research topics of 'Innovative strategies to achieve low total phosphorus concentrations in high water flows'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this