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Author      Title/Abstract      

Planning Sludge Management for Maximum Beneficial Use
Author: Steve J. Krugel
Date: 10/79
Presented at the Pacific Northwest Pollution Control Association Convention, Spokane, Washington, October 24-26, 1979

Since the passage of the Clean Water Act of 1972, the treatment and ultimate disposal of wastewater sludge has become a significant national problem. The Clean Water Act itself, requiring significantly increased pollutant removal from municipal wastewaters, has resulted in a two- to tenfold increase in the volume of sludge produced at the typical wastewater treatment plant. In addition, Congress has banned the ocean disposal of sludge, the traditional disposal method for many of our largest coastal metropolitan areas. Tightened air quality standards and the accelerating cost of energy have made sludge incineration a less attractive disposal technique. Most recently, the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act of 1976, followed by EPA's Criteria for Classification of Solid Waster Disposal Facilities and Practices published in the Federal Register of September 13, 1979, spelled out strict guidelines for the disposal of sludge in landfills and for its use on agricultural soils. The story of the '70s has been one of rapidly escalating quantities of sludge and increasing limits on its disposal. These trends have forced an intensive new look at acceptable ways of disposing of sludge. The development of new and the refinement of old technologies such as composting, co-pyrolysis, and dedicated land disposal have blossomed within a few short years. Most notable of these technologies has been the beneficial use of sludge for agricultural purposes, which has had growing emphasis through the country. This paper discusses some of the incentives which have arisen out of this national emphasis, the benefits which can be derived from sludge use, and how these benefits combined with a useful planning approach can help overcome some of the traditional drawbacks to sludge use.