The future of sewage sludge recovery

New legal specifications stimulate the market

New legal specifications have led to further loss of the importance of soil-related recovery of sewage sludge and the trend towards thermal recovery continues.

Decline in agricultural recovery

Reduced area availability and fertiliser intensity due to more stringent provisions in fertiliser law (“Düngerecht” – DüMV) as well as bans on use within the scope of purchase agreements with the food industry and for organic farmers
Extended test spectrum for soil and sewage sludge as well as increased test frequency for sewage sludge according to the relevant regulations (AbfKlärV – 2017) make analysis costs more expensive and in turn the overall recovery costs also rise
Increased work and testing in the currently specified notification and delivery note procedure
Increasing logistics and transport costs
Limitation to agricultural utilization

Until now, recultivation of lignite coal mining areas was a good, plannable recovery option.
However, this is in sharp decline, because most of the former mining areas have been refilled.
Thermal recovery

Thermal recovery capacities in waste incineration plants, in cement works and other industrial plants as well as in mono-incineration plants are scarce and have led to rising disposal prices. It can be assumed that this trend will continue, until the first mono-incineration plants emerge, against the background of mandatory phosphorous recovery for wastewater treatment plants > 100,000 PE from 2029 and for wastewater treatment plants > 50,000 PE from 2032. The disposal situation could worsen further due to the loss of co-incineration capacities as part of the “coal phase-out” by 2022.

Politics wants to counteract this by promoting inter-municipal cooperation for the construction of mono-sewage sludge incineration plants and the development of interim storage facilities.

bifa Umweltinstitut supports the Bavarian sewage sludge network and takes care of developing the system further.

Post time: Apr-05-2022

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