Neptune project deliverable D1.3

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Courtesy of IWA Publishing

Strategies for a sustainable and safe sludge removal

Wastewater (WW) treatment and the management of sludge produced are global issues, with growing challenges, that must address the concerns of all of the stakeholders, including the facility administrators and operators, the regulators, the politicians, the scientific community, the wastewater generators, the taxpayers and the general public (Greater Moncton Sewerage Commission, 2008). The volume of the sludge extracted from primary and secondary settling tanks is about 2% of the volume of treated WW. In spite of its negligible volume, sludge treatment and disposal entails very high capital and operating costs, which can be accounted as high as 50% of the total costs of the WW treatment plant, i.e. 25-35 €/(person × year).Typical treatments for a large WW treatment plant include a first phase of concentration, generally carried out by gravity thickening, a biological aerobic or anaerobic stabilization,aimed to reduce biodegradable solids, odours and pathogens, and mechanical dewatering by centrifugation,belt-pressing or filter-pressing. In most cases sludge processing is designed according to the conventional systems, which might not be suitable for producing sludge with proper characteristics for its final disposal or utilization according to the legislative standards and avoiding any detrimental effects for the environment and any risk for the human health.

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