Water, Air, and Soil Pollution

, Volume 189, Issue 1–4, pp 335–351 | Cite as

Phosphorus Dynamics in a Small Eutrophic Italian Lake

  • U. PerroneEmail author
  • A. Facchinelli
  • E. Sacchi


Phosphorous dynamics within Lake Sirio (NW Italy) were investigated, considering both water and sediments. The total phosphorus (TP) concentration in the water is about 79 μg l−1 after the winter mixing, that is in homogeneous conditions; then TP content increases up to an average of 360 μg l−1 in late autumn in the deep hypolimnium (30–45 m). This deep lake portion accounts for only 1/12 of the water volume. Close to the water-sediment interface, TP concentrations up to 530 μg l−1 are observed. Sediment sampled at depths of 20 and 33 m contains less than 2,000 mg kg−1 of TP, whereas cores from the deepest sediments (46 m) display TP values of 2,000–4,000 mg kg−1 at the water-sediment interface, increasing with depth to 16,000 mg kg−1 at about 60–100 cm. In these deep sediments the main chemical form is the Al–Fe–Mn bound P (about 90% in the high TP cores) and Fe and Mn are also highly enriched (3 and 9 times more than in the shallow sediments respectively). The P–Fe association is confirmed by SEM-EDS and XRD analyses. The vertical distribution of the P content in the water column is consistent with its release from sediments, but in this hypothesis an unrealistic P release rate from 8.1 to 3.0 g m−2y−1 was estimated. A more complex model is therefore proposed, involving a process of P concentration in the sediments of the central (deepest) part of the lake, and a short term sediment-water exchange. The TP vertical variability and speciation in the cores suggests a change in the sediment retention capacity, connected to the lake shift to more eutrophic conditions.


Eutrophic lake Water budget Phosphorus speciation Phosphorus internal load Phosphorus dynamics Sediment 



This work was supported by Regione Piemonte and Società Canottieri Sirio. We are grateful to Dr. A. Defilippi (ARPA – Ivrea) for the P data of the water column 1 and to Dr. Allais for the cores sampling. A special thank to Sergio Cavallone for the help in finding and translating the Einstein’s paper.


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© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Dipartimento di Scienze Mineralogiche e PetrologicheUniversità degli Studi di TorinoTorinoItaly
  2. 2.Dipartimento di Scienze della TerraUniversità Degli Studi di PaviaPaviaItaly

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