This proposal is prepared with the help of an Exploratory Award which included a Research Feasibility Study undertaken in participation with three original core SMEs in the United Kingdom, the Republic of Ireland and Greece. Waterworks sludge is the solid waste residue which accumulates as a result of the drinking water purification process. It is composed of a mixture of microscopic organic and inorganic particulate matter which has been chemically removed prior to disinfection. In the past, this sludge has been disposed of to sewer (if available), mechanically dewatered into a 'cake' for disposal to land or landfill sites, or simply discharged back into rivers or the sea. Proposed EU directives will demand a more responsible approach to be taken by Member States for the future. In satisfying this directive, the majority of the sludge now destined to be accumulated at waterworks will invariably require landfill disposal or spreading on available agricultural land. However, in most densely populated areas with large sludge disposal requirements, suitable land space is a rapidly diminishing resource and in the case of landfill sites, is in direct competition from many other municipal and industrially generated solid wastes. As a consequence, the costs associated with the future disposal of this byproduct will inevitably continue to rise. An intensive search of the technical literature during the exploratory phase has concluded that throughout EU Member States, no attention has so far been paid to exploring the recycling possibilities of this material and no bulk solution other than landfill disposal or land spreading currently exists. The structural clayware and refractories sectors of the ceramic industry is also facing similar environmental problems as it is becoming increasingly under pressure in relation to its quarrying activities needed for its supply of raw materials. Legislation aimed at the extractive mineral industry as a whole, will inevitably make quarrying of all kinds a more difficult and more expensive practice in the future. Consequently the possibility of introducing alternative raw materials such as waterworks sludge, as a way of reducing future levels of quarrying, are of widespread interest. A CRAFT exploratory study undertaken by Staffordshire University and CERECO (RTD performers) on behalf of SME ceramic manufacturers in the United Kingdom the Republic of Ireland and Greece, has provided clear evidence that waterworks sludge can perform a potentially valuable role in substituting for part of the normal raw ceramic body components traditionally used as the feedstock for the production of a wide range of commercial clayware and refractory products. The progression of the project in order to conclusively demonstrate the viability of this technology at the manufacturing scale, can be accomplished within a 2 year period. It is clear that as a consequence of the increasing need to identify approaches which will reduce waste, the adoption of this type of technology, will have widespread application. It thus offers important commercial and environmental benefits to this sector of the ceramic manufacturing industry, with direct application to other ceramic manufacturing operations of this same market sector, throughout EU Member States.
Funding SchemeCRS - Cooperative research contracts
SK8 5QY Cheadle
HD8 0BA Huddersfield
ST18 0AD Stafford
34002 Valiliko - Chaldikos