The use of wastewater sludge on arable land in Sweden has been limited for some years due to the low quality, in some respects, of the sludge and to the reluctance of farmers and the food industry to use it. To improve the quality of the sludge, the ReVAQ project has been started, and it now involves seven municipal wastewater organisations. The goal of the project is to introduce a process in which the quality is successively improved by a series of actions taken by society. These actions include tracking and eliminating sources of heavy metals and other substances. As there are numerous sources of some of the substances, the work concentrates on the major sources. Another important activity is to provide information to the users of the wastewater system. The project is being evaluated by Urban Water AB. The results from the first two years indicate that it may be possible to reach the primary technical goal: to obtain a sludge quality that corresponds to that of household wastewater. The more ambitious goal of reaching a quality corresponding to that of WC water (the sum of urine and faeces) does not seem realistic without far-reaching changes in society. The organisations involved, which take the work seriously and are goal-oriented, have achieved measurable results in a short time. The work is also accepted and supported by the board members. More effort is needed, however, to inform the users about the system, and to [motivate them to] change their behaviour regarding matters such as the purchase of everyday products and the use of the toilet facilities.
Evaluation of the ReVAQ project to achieve safe use of wastewater sludge in agriculture
P.-A. Malmqvist, E. Kärrman, B. Rydhagen; Evaluation of the ReVAQ project to achieve safe use of wastewater sludge in agriculture. Water Sci Technol 1 December 2006; 54 (11-12): 129–135. doi: https://doi.org/10.2166/wst.2006.759
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