Eutrophication and water quality of lakes: Control by water residence time and transport to sediments

Abraham Lerman*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Steady-state concentration in lake water is determined by the rate of input, residence time of water, and rate of removal into lake floor sediments. For a given input (loading) rate, a steady-state concentration is a ‘warning sign’ or a limit to which the lake will tend. For 22 lakes in North America and Western Europe, the upper limits of steady-state concentrations of phosphorus are in the ‘eutrophic’ range from 0·03 to 0·3 mg P/l., at the existing input rates of 10 −2to 10−1mg 1.−1year−1. A natural baseline input of phosphorus to lakes, owing to the chemical weathering of continents, is lower, 10−4to 10−3mg 1.−1year−1. The rates of removal of phosphorus to lake floor sediments are of the order of 25–50 per cent of input load. For sodium and chloride, mean rate of removal into sediment is less than 0·5 per cent of input load; for Sr90, 1–4 per cent; and for Cs137, 25–65 per cent or higher. The higher rates of removal into sediments result in lower concentration in lake water.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)25-34
Number of pages10
JournalHydrological Sciences Bulletin
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 1974

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Water Science and Technology


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