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Feasibility study for certified reference materials for organic components in sewage sludge

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New direction for old sludge treatments

Fresh European directives are bringing new insights on the treatment of sewage sludge. The development and reforming of directives on sludge treatment has pressurised research into developing a new understanding and need for reference materials.

Climate Change and Environment

Driven by changing attitudes in wastewater sludge treatment and higher standards of safety and hygiene, an EC funded project SLUDGESUPPORT has set about investigating sludge material and its potential treatments. This is in order to develop reference materials at a laboratory scale acceptable throughout the Union. Its aim is to improve and/or maintain the quality levels, assurances and accreditation for treatment processes, materials and their further use or disposal. The targeted sludge samples were taken from state-of-the-art treatment facilities, and identified based on the levels of contaminants in the sludge samples. The project sought to look at technical aspects of treatment, the methodologies and processes needed, as well as an assessment on commercial potential based on the final product. A number of processes were investigated such as freeze drying, sterilisation, irradiation using Co-60 (cobalt -60) and a further cryo-milling cooling with liquid nitrogen. The specific enterprise aimed at processing 60kg of raw sewage sludge with the intention of removing contaminants, stench and potentially contagious materials. The resulting material had to fill 500 bottles with ready-to-use reference material. Not covered yet, but probably the focus of future study, are the homogeneity, stability and test certification studies. It is intended that the technical achievements of the study will be made available to a wide range of scientific bodies and audiences, with the intention of being published in peer reviewed journals and reports.

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