A novel way of treating sludge

This item first appeared in 2007

Event review: Yorkshire water sludge phyto-conditioning

The Yorkshire water sludge phyto-conditioning (SPC) process seminar was held on 15 May 2007 at the Esholt Conference Centre, Shipley, West Yorkshire, UK. Organised jointly by SCI’s Environment and Yorkshire and Humber Groups in association with the event’s host Yorkshire Water, the half day seminar and associated tour was attended by 37 delegates.

Jon Brigg, waste water research manager for Yorkshire Water, opened the meeting with a summary of the background to this novel process and then Tom Taylor, senior project engineer, continued with the technical aspects of the process. The seminar was followed by a one and half hour tour of the facility.

Sludge phyto-conditioning is a novel low technology process growing grass on sewage sludge/green waste to produce a pleasant/low odour compost-like material, reducing bacterial indicators to below detectable levels, while retaining the beneficial energy recovery aspects of anaerobic digestion.

The on-site visit demonstrated the actual working process from the delivery and handling of green waste (pictured), the sludge presscake, various handling, size reduction and screening equipment, composting and growing areas with piles of the input materials and intermediate and output products.

The batch process uses conditioned sewage sludge and green waste which offers a stable matrix under changing weather conditions, allowing more rapid and even grass germination and development. A very important consideration is that no complaints of odour or other nuisance have been received from local residents.

Yorkshire Water is implementing the SPC concept at five sludge treatment centres, with plans to roll it out across the region.

K Clive Thompson,
Chair, SCI Environment Group

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