Turning biological waste treatment plant sludge into a fuel source


North Carolina, as part of its landfill regulations, banned all waste treatment plant sludges from general landfills in March, 1989. Cranston Print Works Company was producing approximately 20 tons per day of 18% solid non-hazardous sludge in its extended aeration activated sludge waste treatment plant. Sludge disposal costs were $10,000 per week after the ban took effect.

This paper traces the process used in the selection of a sludge disposal method, and a full report on the chosen method, its installation, and long term operating characteristics.

The method chosen was to burn the biological waste treatment sludge as a fuel source, blended with coal in a pulverized coal fired boiler operated by the plant.

To transform the sludge to a usable form, an indirect steam heated Komline-Sanderson/Nara Paddle Dryer was selected. This machine produces a 99.5% solid pellet like material readily compatible with the pulverized coal boiler.

The sludge drying operation has been in full production on an automated, low manpower basis since January, 1990. A review of the operating characteristics is included.

The use of the sludge as a fuel source has proven successful in the pulverized coal fired boiler. The parameters considered in determining the suitability as a fuel are reviewed.

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