The research aimed to evaluate present and potential phosphorous pollution due to high sedimentary phosphorus load and release from sediment, when external phosphorus was reduced in downstream Nansi Lake. Pollution load of the sediment and overlying water was investigated. Kinetics and isotherms of adsorption/release of sedimentary phosphorus were studied to determine equilibrium phosphate concentration (EPC ) and release potential. Kinetics of phosphorus adsorption on sediment and release from sediment were well described by both the pseudo-first-order rate equation and the pseudo-second-order rate equation, but more appropriate to the pseudo-second-order rate equation with the adsorption/release capacity more close to the measured values, suggesting that the processes were chemically rate controlled and dependent on adsorption capacity. Soluble reactive phosphorus (SRP) sorption isotherms on sediment were best fitted by the modified Langmuir model indicating a monolayer adsorption. By comparing EPC and SRP of water, the status (adsorption, releasing or in equilibrium) of sediment phosphorus could be determined. The sediments at site S1, S3, S4, S5, and S7 where the EPC s were greater than the SRPs, had a potential to release phosphorus into the water column. However, those sediments at S9, S10, and S12, where the EPC s were approximately equal to the SRPs, were in impermanent equilibrium with overlying water in status of phosphorus, the sediments can be likely to release phosphorus to the water column once the equilibrium was broken. Therefore, sedimentary phosphorus can be a secondary pollution source in downstream Nansi Lake.