Combined sewer systems generate sediments that have characteristics similar to those of primary sludge. Mexico City has such a system composed of a network of pipes, regulation structures (dams, basins) and open channels. The annual generation of sediments is estimated at 2.8 Mm3, which includes 0.41 Mm3 of sludge. As a result, the total capacity for transporting water is reduced considerably, making it necessary to extract yearly an approximate 0.85 Mm3 of those materials and to send them to a final disposal site with a capacity that is being exhausted. As part of the local Governmental effort, this project evaluates the quality of sediments from 6 dams, 4 regulation basins, 2 open channels, and 3 transfer stations. Also, sludge from 20 wastewater treatment plants was sampled. The results showed an important presence of lead and hydrocarbons in some sediments, and some sludge samples contained arsenic and nickel above the limits. Moreover, microbial levels exceeded the limits in all the sediments and sludge samples. Erosion was linked to the generation of an important amount of sediments based on lead concentration. A classification was established to determine the degree of contamination of the sediments as well as the required treatment to allow their potential reuse.

This content is only available as a PDF.