Municipal sludge contains many toxic organic materials, large number of pathogenic microorganisms, heavy metals alongside many nutrients beneficial to plant and/or animal growth, but its use is limited due to these health hazards contaminants.
The technology of irradiation-pasteurization has been shown to quickly, efficiently and reliably deal with potential health hazards materials in sewage sludge.
Irradiation-pasteurization of sludge can be carried out in gamma irradiator with cobalt-60 source, which emits gamma rays. These rays penetrate and pass through the sludge, inactivating microorganisms and decomposing various organic compounds without leaving in any residual radioactivity or making the sludge radioactive. The finished product “clean sludge” can be utilized as an organic, sanitary fertilizer/soil conditioner or use as an animal feed.
The clean sludge would minimize the risks of pathogenic microorganisms, harmful release of nitrogen compounds and emission of halocarbons that are potential important contributors to global climate change. Therefore, sludge irradiation-pasteurization may be the most environmentally and economically sound solution for the problems of sludge handling and treatment.