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Environ Sci Pollut Res Int. 2015 May;22(10):7361-74. doi: 10.1007/s11356-014-3132-0. Epub 2014 Jun 20.

EU policy on sewage sludge utilization and perspectives on new approaches of sludge management.

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CNR-Istituto di Ricerca sulle Acque, via Salaria km 29.3, 00015, Monterotondo, RM, Italy,


This paper presents the current sewage sludge legislation in Europe and expected developments regarding the coming directives on the application of the "End-of-waste" criteria and on fertilizers. Discussion on sludge production and processing is also included. The Directive 86/278 has regulated the use in agriculture of residual sludge from domestic and urban wastewater. After 1986, this directive was transposed in the different member state legislation and currently the national limit values on heavy metals, some organic micropollutants and pathogens are placed in a rather wide range. This seems the inevitable consequence of different attitudes towards sludge management practices in the member states. The discussion by the European Joint Research Center (JRC) in Seville regarding application of end-of-waste criteria for compost and digestate has produced a final document (IPTS 2014) where sludge was excluded from the organic wastes admitted for producing an end-of-waste compost. Sludge processing in Europe seems addressed to different goals: sludge minimization, full stabilization and hygienization by thermal hydrolysis processes before anaerobic digestion, and on-site incineration by fluidized bed furnace. Thermophilic anaerobic digestion was applied with success on the Prague WWTP with a preliminary lysimeter centrifugation. Coming techniques, like wet oxidation and pyrolysis, are applied only on very few plants.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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