Aerobically digested sludge from a small wastewater treatment plant was dewatered on five sand drying pilot beds and four small drainage beds. The experiment was conducted in a controlled environment with constant air humidity and temperature. A total of between 147 and 263 kg of a combined biological-chemical sludge was used on each of the sand drying beds. Initial sludge total solids (TS) content was 4.6 - 5.5%.
Sludge drainage was completed within 28 days, and the thinner sludge layers were drained within 16 days. The sludge evaporation phase, prior to equilibrium with air moisture, lasted a maximum of 84 days and resulted in a final TS content of 88 - 92%. The drying time to achieve 30% TS was 35-50 days, depending on initial sludge thickness. Sludge cracking behaviour or rate did not control the drying rate at less than 30% TS.