There are problems associated with sludge management in small treatment plants (<10 L/s) located in rural communities, due to costly conventional technology for sludge stabilization. Many of these plants have only sludge drying beds. Mexican Institute of Water Technology has proposed developing suitable low-cost technologies, one of which is vermicomposting a biodegradation system using earthworms of the species Eisenia foetida (earthworm) which stabilize sludge and reduce its pathogenicity. The objective of this work is to present two case studies where vermicomposting technology has been applied in Mexico. The first study corresponds to a plant where 4.8 m3/month of sludge are produced; for these wastes, a vermicomposting system was built and installed. The second study is a treatment plant where 9 m3/month of sludge are produced; experimental tests were conducted with sludge and water hyacinth and a vermicomposting system was designed. The vermicomposts were analyzed using parameters defined by Mexican standards. In regards to stabilization, TVS was reduced by 38% and the microbiological quality of the vermicompost was Class A and B, with a reduction in fecal coliforms and Helminth eggs according to NOM-004-SEMARNAT-2002. A CRETI (Corrosivity, Reactivity, Explosivity, Toxicity and Ignitability) analysis (NOM-052-SEMARNAT-2005) was used to show that the process reduced the concentration of releasable sulfides. The agronomic quality of the vermicompost exhibited a high content of organic matter comparable to many organic manures and high content of nutrients such as nitrogen and phosphorus. It is concluded that it is possible to improve the conditions of sewage sludge management in small plants of rural communities with a minimum investment (less than $10,000.00 USD) and with a requirement of a minimum area of 60 to 70 m2 for a production of less than 9 m3/month of dehydrated sludge (80% humidity).
VERMICOMPOSTING TECHNOLOGY FOR STABILIZING THE SEWAGE SLUDGE FROM RURAL WASTE WATER TREATMENT PLANTS
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V. Lina Cardoso, C. Esperanza Ramírez, E. Violeta Escalante; VERMICOMPOSTING TECHNOLOGY FOR STABILIZING THE SEWAGE SLUDGE FROM RURAL WASTE WATER TREATMENT PLANTS. Water Practice and Technology 1 March 2008; 3 (1): wpt2008003. doi: https://doi.org/10.2166/wpt.2008.003
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