Impact of hydro-sedimentary processes on the dynamics of soluble reactive phosphorus in the Seine River

Lauriane Vilmin*, Najla Aissa-Grouz, Josette Garnier, Gilles Billen, Jean Marie Mouchel, Michel Poulin, Nicolas Flipo

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


This paper focuses on soluble reactive phosphorus (SRP) dynamics along a 225 km stretch of the Seine River, including the Paris urban area, for the 2007–2011 period. The impact of hydro-sedimentary processes on SRP concentrations and fluxes is estimated under various hydrological conditions. Sorption interaction parameters between SRP and suspended matter are experimentally determined on river water samples and are included in a hydro-ecological model. Simulated concentrations are compared to weekly measurements at 11 monitoring stations. The introduction of sorption in the model reduces the root mean square error of simulated SRP concentrations by 20 % and allows the simulation of particulate inorganic P (PIP) accumulation in the system. With these ameliorations, the model constitutes a reliable management tool, which is compatible with the requirements of new regulations as the European Water Framework Directive. P mass balances are assessed upstream and downstream the major waste water treatment plant of the Paris urban area. P fluxes in the system are mainly driven by hydrological conditions and sediment-related processes. While SRP is the predominant P form during low flow, PIP accounts for more than 70 % of the total P during high flow. Moreover, SRP sorption fluxes are of the same order of magnitude as biotic fluxes affecting SRP concentrations. According to the model, and based on all the available data, 75 % of the SRP release by the river bed sediments occurs during high flow periods, and PIP exchanges at the sediment–water interface are more than 4 times higher during high flow periods than during low flow periods.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)229-251
Number of pages23
Issue number2-3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Hydro-ecological modelling
  • Hydro-sedimentary processes
  • Particulate inorganic phosphorus
  • Sediment–water fluxes
  • Soluble reactive phosphorus
  • Sorption


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