Sand-size particles of vivianite (Fe 3 (PO 4 ) 2 .8H 2 O) have been identified in surficial sediments of the tidal Potomac River near a major sewage treatment plant. Vivianite is concentrated in a surface layer of coarse-sand dredge spoil, which overlies much finer sediment. Although saturation indices indicate that the pore waters of virtually all the sediments in the study area are supersaturated with respect to vivianite, it is found only in association with dredge spoil. Pore-water profiles of Fe, P, and Eh, and the size and morphology of individual grains, indicate that the vivianite is authigenic. The major control on the occurrence of the mineral is the presence or absence of amorphous ferric oxy-hydroxides, which react with pore-water phosphorus to form stable ferric hydroxy-phosphates preferentially to the formation of vivianite.--Modified journal abstract.