Sludge Management Plan Published

Sludge Management Plan Published

Irish Water has published its 25-year plan for the management of wastewater sludge. 

The National Wastewater Sludge Management Plan (NWSMP) which outlines Irish Water's strategy to ensure a nationwide, standardised approach for the management, treatment, transport, storage and disposal of wastewater sludge over the next 25 years, was launched at the National Ploughing Championships.

QVdH7Fl.pngWastewater sludge is what remains in a wastewater treatment plant after the treated water has been discharged to our rivers and seas.

It is made up mainly of organic matter that has been removed during the treatment process and further treatment is required to ensure its safe and efficient re-use or disposal.

Irish Water has acknowledged that the management of this sludge poses economic, planning and environmental challenges.

Since its incorporation in 2014, Irish Water has taken over the responsibility of providing water and wastewater services in Ireland from 31 local authorities. This includes managing approximately 1,000 wastewater treatment plants.

Currently 98 per cent of wastewater sludge is treated to produce biosolids products, which is being reused in agriculture. There are very limited alternative options currently available in Ireland.

In response to feedback from two public consultations, the NWSMP focuses on future biosolids use being targeted at crops such as non-agricultural and crops for animal feed. A feasibility study will also be carried out to investigate alternative outlets for sludge reuse in order to reduce the risks associated with depending on a single outlet for wastewater sludge.

The Plan also proposes that a network of hub treatment centres and satellite dewatering sites be further developed to optimise the balance between treatment and transport costs. The location of ‘hubs’ will be considered on a regional rather than county basis and will maximise the use of energy recovery where possible.

The 25-year plan is to be reviewed every five years.

Source: Meath Chronicle