Water Technology Research Group
Trinity College Dublin
1980-2010 thirty years of research, training and consultancy

Characterization and reuse of water treatment sludges
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Background: Water treatment sludges arise primarily from coagulation-sedimentation and filtration processes and are quite site specific. Disposal
of water treatment sludges, which are primarily amorphous Fe and Al compounds, poses a management problem for most municipalities. Previously,
such sludges would be disposed directly to surface waters or to sewer without treatment. However, as environmental legislation has developed,
sludge treatment and disposal has become increasingly regulated. Consequently, the reusability of water treatment sludges for both economical
and environmental reasons is increasingly of interest.

Objectives: The aim of this project is (i) to investigate the physico-chemical characteristics of drinking water treatment sludge and (ii) to examine
potential reuse pathways.

Project: An investigation of water treatment sludge will be conduced to examine the physico-chemical characteristics and the potential reusability of
this sludge.  

Characterization will involve evaluating (i) its thermal properties; (ii) its adsorption characteristics; (iii) its toxicity; and finally (iv) its treatability and
degradability.  The potential reusability will also be assessed based on both characterization and pilot trials. The basic properties decide potential
reuse options which include: (i) use as a coagulant; (ii) P-removal; (iii) to prevent metals being leached from mine wastes; (iv) as a growth medium
or plant supplement; (v) co disposal with wastewater sludges; (vi) Aerobic digestion or co-treatment with activated sludge and (vii) incineration.

Based on the analysis of physico-chemical characterization and reusability assessment, the final potential reusability of water treatment sludge will
be determined. This will benefit water treatment sludge management as well as meet sustainability objectives within water treatment plant
management.
Dan Wang
Centre for the Environment, TCD

contact:  dwang@tcd.ie

Funded: Water Technology Research