A highly reactive, poisonous nonmetallic element occurring naturally in phosphates, especially in the mineral apatite. It exists in white (or sometimes yellow), red, and black forms, and is an essential component of protoplasm. Phosphorus is used to make matches, fireworks, and fertilizers and to protect metal surfaces from corrosion.
Phosphorus can be found in water, soil, and sediments.
Phosphorus is liquid at temperatures and pressures and therefore cannot be found in a gaseous state.
Phosphorus can be found in small dust particles.
Phosphorus moves slowly from deposits on land and then much more slowly back into the soil and water sediments to living organisms.
Mining of Phosphorus
World production is 153 million tons per year. There are concerns over how long these phosphorous deposits will last. In case of depletion there could be a serious problem for the worlds food production since phosphorus is such an essential ingredient in fertilizers.
Land Run Off
Rain and melting snow carry large amounts of fertilizing chemicals (primarily phosphorus and nitrogen) off the land into the water from:
dog and cat droppings
rich topsoil from exposed gardens and farm fields
construction site run-off
eroding stream banks trampled by livestock
street run-off, including air pollution fallout, lawn fertilizers, and home car-washing.
Buffer Strips and Live Stock Fencing
We need statewide policies which fund or mandate "buffer strips" along waterways, with fencing to keep livestock away from the water. The start-up costs may be substantial, but the long-term maintenance would be low. Water quality could improve dramatically for some degraded areas.
Experts agree that when natural vegetation is maintained along our waterways, this does a superb job of reducing stream bank erosion and filtering pollutants out of run-off before the storm water reaches the stream.
"The lawn runoff data collected in 1996 and 1997 indicate that the application of phosphorus fertilizer to lawns with very high levels of fertility (approximately 70 percent of suburban TCMA lawns) significantly increases the amount of phosphorus transported into the storm water system by rainfall runoff."
Determining Environmentally Sound Soil Phosphorus Levels, Journal of Soil and Water Conservation 51(2): 160-166, Andrew Sharpley 1996.
"The concentration of phosphorus in runoff is related to the amount of phosphorus in the surface layer of soil, which reacts with rainfall-runoff. This relationship can be used as the theoretical basis to establish critical soil test phosphorus levels, above which phosphorus enrichment of runoff becomes unacceptable."
Restoring Wet Lands
Wetlands filter nutrients out of water, therefore increased wetland plants growing along the shoreline would help reduce algae blooms. One strategy used on some lakes is a temporary draw down of water levels to allow the sediments to dry out, oxidize, and become compacted. This also allows wetland plants to regenerate. After one season, the water is allowed back and often dramatic water quality improvements are seen which persist for many years. The increased wetlands also support increased fish and waterfowl populations, so supporting opportunities increase. The obvious drawback is the loss of boating, swimming and fishing season.
Wet lands which exist along the lake shore should be guarded as treasures.
Waynesville Water Shed
Waynesville's watershed is located southwest of Waynesville and covers an area of 8,400 acres on the headwaters of Allen's Creek. Tributary streams within the watershed flow into the Waynesville Reservoir, a 50-acre man-made lake created by a dam on Allen's Creek.(Which my dad helped build)
The reservoir and surrounding watershed are classified by the State of North Carolina as WS-1. This classification is the state's most stringent and forbids development within the watershed boundary.
How Waynesville’s Water is Treated
Raw water from the reservoir is treated at the Waynesville Water Treatment Plant.
The treatment process has five main steps:
post chemical treatment
The objective of rapid mixing and flocculation is to cause small suspended particles to clump together for removal by sedimentation and filtration. The filters are anthracite and sand.
Final chemical treatment uses chlorine for disinfection, fluoride for prevention of dental cavities and a poly phosphate to control corrosion in the distribution system.
Too Much Phosphorus
Can cause health problems such as:
Most of the time this occurs when there has been too much medicine taken with phosphorus in it.
Too little phosphorus can cause health problems also.
Phosphorus in its pure form has a white color.
White phosphorus is the most dangerous form of phosphorus that is known to us.
When white phosphorus occurs in nature this can be a serious danger to our health.
White phosphorus is extremely poisonous and in many cases exposure to it will be fatal.
The Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries are unhealthy primarily because of pollution from excess nitrogen, phosphorus and sediment entering the water.
The main sources of these pollutants are agriculture, urban and suburban runoff, wastewater, and airborne contaminants.
Annual rain and snowfall affect how much water flows in rivers .
The levels of pollution entering the Bay each year generally correspond with the volume of water that flows from its tributaries.
Chesapeake Bay Pollution
"A new report says water treatment plants, and farm runoff may not be polluting the Chesapeake Bay as much as previously thought.
The report says vehicle emissions are actually causing one-third of the nitrogen that reaches the Chesapeake Bay. This is 40 percent more than previously thought.
These findings may lead to changes in regulations for keeping the Chesapeake Bay clean. Most efforts have focused on better treatment at sewage plants and limiting farm and urban runoff.
There's been little focus on emissions from vehicles and power plants. The nitrogen is considered the number one water quality problem for the Bay.
The nitrogen is considered the number one water quality problem for the Bay because it creates massive algae blooms. These blooms creates massive algae blooms.
These blooms suck oxygen out of the water and block sunlight from reaching underwater vegetation"