Phragmites australis for sludge dewatering and stabilization processes have been widely proved. The presence of reeds, indeed, efficiently allows solids dewatering and organic matter stabilization in order to obtain a stabilised product that can be suitable for land application, even if its environmental impact has to be considered. The actual revision of the European Union's Working Document on Sludge (2000), in fact, seems to be addressed to detect two principal categories of pollutants in sludge for agricultural use: heavy metals and toxic organic compounds. In this study are presented results about sludge stabilization and monitoring of heavy metal fractionation and organic compounds in four urban wastewater treatment plants managed by Acque S.p.A., (Tuscany, Italy). To evaluate the process of sludge stabilization parameters were determined that highlight the biochemical and chemico-structural properties of sludge organic matter. The results showed that stabilization of the sludge over time occurred as shown by the low content of water soluble carbon and dehydrogenase activity, and by the re-synthesis of humic-like matter highlighted by the pyrolytic indices of mineralization and humification. Results about fractionation showed that heavy metals were retained in fractions related to the stabilized organic matter. Moreover, toxic organic compounds showed a drastic reduction at the end of the monitoring period.
- heavy metals
- organic matter
- pyrolysis-gas chromatography (Py-GC)
- sludge treatment wetland
- toxic organic compounds (LAS NPE, DEHP)
- Received October 29, 2010.
- Accepted March 7, 2011.
- © IWA Publishing 2011