The adsorption capacities of Y zeolite and La (III)-modified Y zeolite were studied. A series of La(III)-modified Y zeolites with different La/Y zeolite mass ratios were characterized by X-ray diffraction, X-ray fluorescence and Brunauer-Emmett-Teller surface area analysis. Batch experiments were conducted to evaluate the effects of various experimental parameters, such as pH, ionic strength, coexisting anions ( , Cl , and ) and temperature, on the phosphate adsorption. The capacity of the La (III)-modified Y zeolite to remove phosphate increased as the La/Y zeolite mass ratio increased and after 4 h, a phosphate removal efficiency of 95% was achieved for a La/Y zeolite mass ratio of 0.10. The equilibrium adsorption isotherm data correlated better to the Langmuir model than the Freundlich model and the data followed a pseudo-second-order kinetic equation.