Phosphorus removal by electric arc furnace steel slag and serpentinite

Aleksandra Drizo*, Christiane Forget, Robert P. Chapuis, Yves Comeau

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

230 Citations (Scopus)


Electric arc furnace (EAF) steel slag and serpentinite were tested in columns either alone or mixed with limestone to determine their capacity to remove phosphorus (P) from a solution containing initially 20 mg P/L (for 114 days) than 400 mg P/L (for 21 days). EAF steel slag was nearly 100% efficient due to specific P adsorption onto metal hydroxides and precipitation of hydroxyapatite. Serpentinite also showed a good performance that decreased with time, adsorption appearing to be the dominant mechanism for P removal. Mixing limestone with these two materials did not improve their performance and in the case of serpentinite, it actually even decreased it. In 114 days of experimentation, serpentinite alone and the mixture of serpentinite and limestone removed 1.0 mg P/g while in 180 days of experimentation, EAF steel slag and the mixture of slag and limestone removed an average of 2.2 mg P/g, without attaining their maximum P removal potential. The void hydraulic retention time (HRTv) was a key factor for growing hydroxyapatite crystals and had a significant effect on P removal efficiency by EAF steel slag. A temporary increase in HRTv caused by clogging resulted in an increase in EAF steel slag efficiency (from 80% to almost 100%) towards the end of investigation. Results from this study indicate that the use of EAF steel slag in constructed wetlands or filter beds is a promising solution for P removal via adsorption and precipitation mechanisms.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1547-1554
Number of pages8
JournalWater Research
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - May 2006


  • Adsorption
  • Hydroxyapatite
  • Phosphorus removal
  • Phosphorus retention
  • Precipitation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Earth-Surface Processes


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