Recycling of treated sewage sludge (biosolids) to agricultural land still accounts for 55% of UK sludge and is generally considered to be the best practicable environment option where suitable land exists. Much has been done, in the last 3 years in particular, to reassure stakeholders and the public that the practice does not present a health hazard.
One remaining concern is possible detrimental effects of biosolids recycling on the health of local residents because of bioaerosols / particulates from recycling operations. Allergies, effects on the immune system or event disease, could be implicated. Bioaerosols may be associated with liquid / cake biosolids and particulates with thermally dried and limed products. The trigger to public concern is often odour, and where this occurs, the assumption is made that there are also bioaerosols and particulates.
In the USA, with scare stories about aerial emissions from landspreading, a petition signed by many parties, has recently been submitted to the US Environmental Protection Agency, calling for immediate cessation to biosolids recycling to land.
WRc is working with a Water Utility to examine the extent of the problem.
Benefits to Clients
- Reduced risk of this issue escalating with a negative impact on the acceptability of biosolids recycling to land, the most economic and preferred option for many Utilities.
- Demonstration of good practise to all stakeholders and the public.