Since 1913 the Ruhrverband has been responsible for comprehensive water quality and water quantity management in the Ruhr River basin, covering an area of 4,488 km2. In 116 municipal wastewater treatment plants sludges with 59,000 tons of dry solids are annually retained. For the year 2000 a total of 75,000 tons is expected. The paper describes the development of a basin-wide sludge disposal concept under realistic assumptions. As treatment plants of varying sizes are existent, all three applicable routes of sludge disposal must be kept open for the future: 1. agricultural utilization, 2. controlled disposal after dewatering and 3. incineration.

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