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ARS Home » Midwest Area » West Lafayette, Indiana » National Soil Erosion Research Laboratory » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #383126

Research Project: Conservation Practice Impacts on Water Quality at Field and Watershed Scales

Location: National Soil Erosion Research Laboratory

Title: Introduction to P-TRAP software for designing phosphorus removal structures

item Penn, Chad
item Frankenberger, James - Jim
item Livingston, Stanley

Submitted to: Agricultural and Environmental Letters
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 1/26/2021
Publication Date: 5/26/2021
Citation: Penn, C.J., Frankenberger, J.R., Livingston, S.J. 2021. Introduction to P-TRAP software for designing phosphorus removal structures. Agricultural and Environmental Letters. 6(1). Article e20043.

Interpretive Summary: Excess dissolved phosphorus (P) is a potent eutrophication agent that causes toxic algal blooms, and has been particularly blamed in recent water quality issues for lake Erie. The conservation practice known as P removal structures are large landscape-scale filters designed to remove dissolved P from non-point drainage water. Although the operation of the large filters are simple, proper design of the structures is more complex as they are engineered structures. For this reason, the P-Trap (Phosphorus Transport Removal App) was developed. This software allows non-engineer conservationists to quickly and easily design a site-specific P removal structure, or compare several scenarios for cost and feasibility.

Technical Abstract: Phosphorus (P) removal structures are a new best management practice for filtering dissolved P in non-point drainage from legacy P soils through use of P sorption materials (PSMs). Structures must be designed according to characteristics of the site (hydrology and constraints) and PSMs to be utilized, as well as user defined goals (P removal, lifetime, and flow rate), making it a cumbersome process. Freely available P transport reduction app (P-TRAP) allows users to quickly produce a custom design or evaluate a hypothetical or existing structure. The software includes a library of P removal flow-through curves for many different PSMs conducted under various conditions of inflow P concentration and retention time. Design output includes the necessary PSM mass and orientation, pipe requirement, and a table of annual P removal. The software enables conservationists and engineers to quickly compare cost and efficiency among possible designs.