Present and Future Technology for the Treatment of Sewage Sludge in Ireland

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Resource or Project Abstract

The disposal and utilization of Sludge resulting from the treatment of waste water represents an increasing challenge all over the world. The total amount of sludge produced in the EU member states is estimated to have increased from 6.6 million tons of dry matter in 1992 to 9.4 million tons in 2005, and will continue to rise over the next decade. How the Irish government will manage the national increase in sludge production is an environmental concern.
Sewage sludge is a by-product of the Waste Water Treatment Process. During the process liquids and solids are separated. The liquids are discharged to water basins and the solids are treated prior to removal to landfill or beneficially used, on land or involved in another recycling initiative.
The sludge contains many different components, both valuable resources such as organic matter and nutrients as well as problematic compounds such as heavy metals, pathogens and toxic organic substances.
The Urban Waste Water Directive states, sludge arising from waste water treatment shall be re-used whenever appropriate (Urban Waste Water Directive 91/271/EEC).

For efficient sludge management in Ireland, a short scale study investigating existing and emerging technologies for the treatment and remediation of sludge prior to its reuse, should be complied and it is proposed that this study will address this.
The purpose of this report is to investigate present and future technologies for the treatment of sewage sludge. It is important when planning for waste water and sewage sludge treatment and disposal facilities, to achieve a balance between meeting future needs of the wider community, and minimizing any unacceptable impact on the environment.

Traditional methods for sludge treatment are examined, and future technologies and global initiatives reviewed. Technologies such as the use of supercritical fluids and bioremediation, and long term storage are discussed.

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Contact Information for This Resource

Dr. Josephine Treacy
Limerick Institute of Technology

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Data, Files, Information Objects Related To This Project Resource

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Attachment Name and Download Link
Att: 1    ERTDI_TraceySewageSludge_2005-WRM-EPA.pdf  (0.84 Mb)
Att 2    ERTDI_TraceySewageSludge_2005-WRM-EPA.doc.doc   (1.19 Mb)

Suggested Citation Information

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Author(s)Treacy, J.
Title Of WebsiteSecure Archive For Environmental Research Data
Publication InformationPresent and Future Technology for the Treatment of Sewage Sludge in Ireland
Name of OrganisationEnvironmental Protection Agency Ireland
Electronic Address or URL
Unique Identifierc092a473-0ba9-102d-8e25-e9973852f3cf
Date of AccessLast Updated on SAFER: 2024-07-14

An example of this citation in proper usage:

Treacy, J.   "Present and Future Technology for the Treatment of Sewage Sludge in Ireland". Associated datasets and digitial information objects connected to this resource are available at: Secure Archive For Environmental Research Data (SAFER) managed by Environmental Protection Agency Ireland (Last Accessed: 2024-07-14)


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Access Information For This Resource

SAFER-Data Display URL
Resource KeywordsSewage Sludge Waste Management Plan Technologies Treatment
EPA/ERTDI/STRIVE Project ThemeWaste and Resource Management
Resource Availability: Any User Can Download Files From This Resource
Limitations on the use of this ResourceAttachments (if any) connected to this resource can be used in journal article or other means of publication provided the original authors are informed of this usage and an appropriate acknowledgement or citation is included within the published article. The EPA advise that this acknowledgement should take one of the following forms dependent upon how heavily the published work relates to the downloaded report: * Co-Authorship(s) for the original author(s)* Written acknowledgement within the body of the article* Written acknowledgement by means of the inclusion of a bibliography entry which clearly cites the original authors. The EPA as a/the primary funder of the research should be acknowledged.
Number of Attached Files (Publicly and Openly Available for Download): 2
Project Start Date Wednesday 3rd January 2007 (03-01-2007)
Earliest Recorded Date within any attached datasets or digital objects Wednesday 3rd January 2007 (03-01-2007)
Most Recent Recorded Date within any attached datasets or digital objects Monday 30th July 2007 (30-07-2007)
Published on SAFERFriday 16th October 2009 (16-10-2009)
Date of Last EditWednesday 28th October 2009 at 12:36:52 (28-10-2009)
Datasets or Files Updated On Monday 19th October 2009 at 09:13:54 (19-10-2009)

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Geographical and Spatial Information Related To This Resource

Description of Geographical Characteristics of This Project or Dataset
This was a desk study that looked at the present and Future Technology for the treatment of Sewage Sludge in Ireland. There was no data collected out in the field. The study took an all Ireland approach.

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Supplementary Information About This Resource

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Lineage information about this project or dataset
The aims of this study are to review present and future technology for the utilization and disposal of sewage sludge in Ireland. The present status and future recommendations within the Irish context will be discussed. The national waste report 2004 (Collins C., 2005), presents the latest available national statistics on waste generation and management in the Republic of Ireland. During 2003 there were 42,298 tons (dry solids) of sewage sludge generated with 63 % of this reused in agriculture and 35 % disposed to landfill. The analysis of sewage sludge disposal routes returned by the sanitary authorities indicates that disposal of sewage sludge to the marine environment has ceased in accordance with the provisions of the Dumping at sea act 1981. The present status in sludge management is controlled in terms of each waste management plan.
Supplementary Information
This study has identified the following requirements with respect to sewage sludge treatment, utilisation and disposal in Ireland.

(1) The development of consistent statistical data, on the treatment of sewage sludge in Ireland is needed. (2) A protocol of sampling analysis and reporting for national chemical composition of sewage sludge is required
(3) A more structured auditing of regional waste management plans then is currently available. (4) Too much emphasises on aspirational data in waste management plans, waste management plans should have realistic information. (5)
Setting up data information centre on percentage of different treatment processes being used in Ireland (6) Eco labeling and product life analysis and risk assessment of the biosolid material is very important in the future. (6)
Better control on incoming water will give rise to a more sustainable sewage sludge product. (7) The proper implementation of the European Pollution Emission Register (EPER) in relation to sludge management needs to be addressed. (8) The term zero waste, must be visualised in the future. Sewage sludge (biosolid) will hopefully move in the direction of being a resource product with a high quality mark and with large public confidence in the product.

ADDITIONAL THANKS are extended to the other contributors to this report.

Prof. Shane Ward,Biosystems Engineering Dept.,University College Dublin, Earlsfort Terrace, Dublin 2 Ireland.

Mr. D. Sheehan and Mr. D. Lyons Environmental Department, Cork County Council, Inniscarra Waterworks, Co. Cork
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