Biosolids treatment and disposal or re-use is of vital strategic importance to the water industry as well as being a significant cost. The revised EU Directive on treatment and use of biosolids in agriculture is due for release and is likely to have significant implications for the sustainability of the agricultural route. Combine this with growing pressure not to use landfills and the difficulty in getting public acceptance for incinerators and the water industry has a major problem finding a secure sustainable disposal route.
Alternative technologies for treating sewage sludge are continually being appraised in an attempt to reduce the risk of losing existing disposal routes. It is vital that new technologies are evaluated in terms of overall sustainability before undertaking more detailed technical and cost studies.
WRc undertook an independent technical review of a range of minimisation/destruction processes. This was accompanied by an assessment of environmental impact and sustainability to determine what role they processes may play in a future biosolids strategy. The project was supported by four major water utilities.
The independent review examined technical claims of various biosolids minimisation/destruction processes and assessed the feasibility of using processes as part of a sustainable strategy for biosolids treatment and disposal or re-use.