Phosphorus Loss Mitigation in Leachate and Surface Runoff from Clay Loam Soil Using Four Lime-Based Materials

  • Faezeh Eslamian
  • Zhiming Qi
  • Michael J. Tate
  • Tiequan Zhang
  • Shiv O. Prasher


The increased eutrophication phenomenon in Quebec lakes calls for an urgent phosphorus-reducing strategy to meet the Quebec water quality standard of 0.03 mg L−1 for phosphorus (P). The objective of this research was to evaluate the application of four lime-based products in reducing P losses through subsurface leachate and surface runoff and to determine their optimum application. Two sets of experiments were conducted: laboratory leaching study and runoff study with a rainfall simulator, using a clay loam soil collected from the Pike river watershed. The former followed a flow method with a full factorial design in three replicates. Soil columns were amended with different application dosages of lime ranging from 0 to 2% by soil weight. The results showed that all four lime-based products could be promising amendments in reducing P losses in the leachate. According to statistical analysis of ANOVA, high calcium hydrated lime and lime kiln dust #2 were found to be the most effective with an optimum application dosage of 1% while reducing total dissolved phosphorus concentrations in leachate from 0.057 to 0.009 and 0.023 mg L−1, respectively. For the runoff study, a rainfall simulator with a maximum rainfall intensity of 2 cm h−1 was built. High calcium hydrated lime and lime kiln dust #2 were able to reduce total dissolved phosphorus to 0.034 and 0.037 mg L−1, respectively. However, particulate phosphorus was significantly increased at the studied application rate. The results from this study can offer a promising measure in reducing total dissolved phosphorus in groundwater while providing a solution to the existing environment issue of eutrophication.


Phosphorus Lime Leaching Surface runoff Eutrophication 



This study was conducted at the Macdonald Campus of McGill University in collaboration Graymont Inc. to whom we would like to express our sincere thanks. This research was funded by NSERC. We would also like to especially thank Ms. Hélène Lalande for her valuable help in the analysis of the samples in Environmental Soil Laboratory, Department of Natural Resources, McGill University. Also, we would like to thank Sowsen Khatib and Azam Khowaja for their help in the runoff experiment setup and sample collection.


  1. AAFC (Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada). (1948). Soil survey reports for quebec: soil survey of Shefford, Brome and Missisquoi Counties. Report No. pq11.Google Scholar
  2. Andersson, H., Bergstrom, L., Djodjic, F., Ulén, B., & Kirchmann, H. (2013). Topsoil and subsoil properties influence phosphorus leaching from four agricultural soils. Journal of Environmental Quality, 42, 55–463.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Andersson, H., Bergstrom, L., Djodjic, F., Ulén, B., & Kirchmann, H. (2016). Lime placement on subsoil as a strategy to reduce phosphorus leaching from agricultural soils. Soil Use and Management, 32, 381–389.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Beauchemin, S., Hesterberg, D., Chou, J., Beauchemin, M., Simard, R. R., & Sayers, D. E. (2003). Speciation of phosphorus in phosphorus-enriched agricultural soils using X-ray near-edge structure spectroscopy and chemical fractionation. Journal of Environmental Quality, 32, 1809–1819.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Blomquist, J., Simonsson, M., Etana, A., & Berglund, K. (2017). Structure liming enhances aggregate stability and gives varying crop responses on clayey soils. Acta Agriculturae Scandinavica, Section B — Soil & Plant Science.
  6. Bolenius, E. (2014). In J. Arvidsson (Ed.), Ecosystems and lime arboriculture annual report (in Swedish) (pp. 20–22). Uppsala: Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Soil & Environment.Google Scholar
  7. Centre de référence en agriculture et agroalimentaire du Québec (CRAAQ). (2003). Guide de référence en fertilisation (1st ed.). Canada: Bibliothèque nationale du Québec.Google Scholar
  8. Devau, N., Cadre, E. L., Hinsinger, P., Jaillard, B., & Gérard, F. (2009). Soil pH controls the environmental availability of phosphorus: experimental and mechanistic modelling approaches. Applied Geochemistry, 24, 2163–2174.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Djodjic, F., Börling, K., & Bergström, L. (2004). Phosphorus leaching in relation to soil type and soil phosphorus content. Journal of Environmental Quality, 33, 678–684.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Eastman, M., Gollamudi, A., Stämpfli, N., Madramootoo, C. A., & Sarangi, A. (2010). Comparative evaluation of phosphorus losses from subsurface and naturally drained agricultural fields in the Pike River watershed of Quebec, Canada. Agricultural Water Management, 97, 596–604.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Environment and climate change Canada. (2016). Canadian environmental sustainability indicators: nutrients in the St. Lawrence River. Consulted on Jan. 2017. Available at:
  12. Fozzard, I. R., Doughty, C. R., Ferrier, R. C., Leatherland, T. M., & Owen, R. (1999). A quality classification for management of Scottish standing waters. Hydrobiologia, 395, 433–455.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Goldberg, S., & Sposito, G. (1984). A chemical model of phosphate adsorption by soils: I. Reference oxide minerals. Soil Science Society of America Journal, 48, 772–778.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Gombault, C., Madramootoo, C. A., Michaud, A. R., Beaudin, I., Sottile, M. F., Chikhaoui, M., & Ngwa, F. F. (2015). Impacts of climate change on nutrient losses from the Pike River watershed of southern Québec. Canadian Journal of Soil Science, 95, 337–358.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Hegman, W., Wang D., & Borer, C. (1999). Estimation of Lake Champlain Basin wide nonpoint source phosphorus export. Lake Champlain Basin Program: Technical Report No. 31. Grand Isle, VT. 99 pp.Google Scholar
  16. Jamieson, A., Madramootoo, C. A., & Enright, P. (2003). Phosphorus losses in surface and subsurface runoff from a snowmelt event on an agricultural field in Quebec. Canadian Biosystems Engineering, 45, 1–17.Google Scholar
  17. Kavak, A., & Baykal, G. (2012). Long-term behavior of lime-stabilized kaolinite clay. Environmental Earth Sciences, 66, 1943–1955.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Lake Champlain Basin Program. (2015). 2015 State of lake and ecosystem indicator report. Canada.Google Scholar
  19. Lake Champlain Basin Program. (2016). Literature review: tile drainage and phosphorus losses from agricultural land. Rep. No. 83. Canada.Google Scholar
  20. Lewis, C. J. (2005). Chemical facts pertaining to environmental uses for lime. USA: Graymont Inc. Booklet.Google Scholar
  21. MacDonald, J. D., Belanger, N., & Hendershot, W. H. (2004). Column leaching using dry soil to estimate solid-solution partitioning observed in zero-tension lysimeters. 1. Method development. Soil & Sediment Contamination, 13, 361–374.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Medalie, L. (2014). Concentration and flux of total and dissolved phosphorus, total nitrogen, chloride, and total suspended solids for monitored tributaries of Lake Champlain, 1990–2010. Reston, Virginia: U.S. Department of the Interior, U.S. Geological Survey.Google Scholar
  23. Mehlich, A. (1984). Mehlich 3 soil test extractant: a modification of Mehlich 2 extractant. Communications in Soil Science and Plant Analysis, 15, 1409–1416.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Michaud, A. R., Lauzier, R., & Laverdiere, M. R. (2002). Description du systeme de transfert du phosphore dans le bassin-versant du ruisseau au Castor (in French). Agrosol, 13, 124–139.Google Scholar
  25. Ministère de la santé et des services sociaux (MSSS). (2007). Liste régionale des avis de santé publique reliés aux lacs et rivières affectés pas les algues blue-vert en 2007 (In French).Google Scholar
  26. Ontario Ministry of Agriculture and Food (OMAFRA). (1987). The soils of the regional municipality of Ottawa-Carleton. vol. 2. Ottawa. ON.Google Scholar
  27. Peltovuori, T. (2006). Sorption of phosphate in field-moist and air-dry samples from four weakly developed cultivated soil profiles. European Journal of Soil Science, 58, 8–17.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Reynolds, C. S., & Davies, P. S. (2001). Sources and bioavailability of phosphorus fractions in freshwaters: a British perspective. Biological Reviews, 76, 27–64.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Saulys, V., & Bastiene, N. (2008). The impact of lime on water quality when draining clay soils. Ekologija, 54, 22–28.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. SBA. (2015). Recommendations for fertilizing and liming (in Swedish). Swedish Board of Agriculture, Jonkoping., 19. P. 92.Google Scholar
  31. Sharpley, A., Jarvie, H. P., Buda, A., May, L., Spears, B., & Kleinman, P. (2013). Phosphorus legacy: overcoming the effects of past management practices to mitigate future water quality impairment. Journal of Environmental Quality, 42, 1308–1326.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Shashkova, I. L., Kitikova, N. V., Rat’ko, A. I., & D’yachenko, A. G. (2000). Preparation of calcium and magnesium hydrogen phosphates from natural dolomite and their sorptive properties. Inorganic Materials, 36, 826–829.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Svanbäck, A., Ulén, B., & Etana, A. (2014). Mitigation of phosphorus leaching losses via subsurface drains from a cracking marine clay soil. Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment, 184, 124–134.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Tunesi, S., Poggi, V., & Gessa, C. (1999). Phosphate adsorption and precipitation in calcareous soils: the role of calcium ions in solution and carbonate minerals. Nutrient Cycling in Agroecosystems, 53, 219–227.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Ulén, B., & Etana, A. (2014). Phosphorus leaching from clay soils can be counteracted by structure liming. Acta Agriculturae Scandinavica, Section B: Soil & Plant Science, 64, 425–433.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Ulén, B., & Snäll, S. (2007). Forms and retention of phosphorus in an illite-clay soil profile with a history of fertilisation with pig manure and mineral fertilisers. Geoderma, 137, 455–465.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Union Quebecqoise pour la Conservation de la Nature. (2005). La gestion du territoire et des activites agricoles dans le cadre de l’approche par bassin versant. Rapport presente en mars 2005 au Ministere de l’Environnement du Quebec, QC (in French). Canada.Google Scholar
  38. Wells, K. (2008). When to apply lime and fertilizer. University of Kentucky, College of Agriculture.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Bioresource EngineeringMcGill UniversitySainte-Anne-de-BellevueCanada
  2. 2.Graymont Inc.GenoaUSA
  3. 3.Harrow Research and Development CentreAgriculture and Agri-Food CanadaHarrowCanada

Personalised recommendations