A comparison of the characteristics and stabilization potential of the four most used sludge treatment systems in Mexico was made. A pilot plant constituted by separate systems for anaerobic and aerobic digestion, lime stabilization, conditioning and dewatering, was built and operated during four months in one of the biological wastewater treatment plants in Acapulco, Mexico. Composting of sludge was also made. An aerobic static pile was built using bulking materials available in the region. A turbine centrifuge was used for dewatering the stabilized sludge and results showed good performance of the device. The main problem for the beneficial use of treated sludge was its pathogenicity. The composting process allowed us to obtain a product with approximately 20 fecal coliform density (MPN/g); with lime stabilization, the sludge produced had a fecal coliform density of 2 MPN/g. From these results, it is concluded that both the composting process and the alkaline stabilization with lime produce a well stabilized sludge, bacteriologically safe that accomplishes the requirements for its use on soil without restrictions. Related to parasitological removal, the best helminth egg removals were obtained also using these two processes. Ascaris sp. densities in raw sludge (309-430 eggs/g) were reduced to a final density of 3-14 eggs/g in the aerobic composting process and to 4-18 eggs/g in the lime stabilized sludge. Removal is not high enough to reach the recommended level for unrestricted use of stabilized sludge.

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