Is recycling of sludge possible after dewatering?
Dewatered sludge from wastewater treatment plants is filling landfills at an unacceptable rate, due to its sheer bulk. For this reason, researchers worldwide are working to find a solution to the dewatered sludge problem, afflicting landfills.
Let us see if recycling of sludge is possible after dewatering.
What is sludge?
An inherent by-product of water treatment is sludge. Organic polymers, biomass waste, chemicals, surfactants, and a range of other waste and treatment components, make up wastewater sludge.
It is mostly made up of water, which makes up between 80 and 97 percent of the substance. Sludge disposal is both expensive and space-intensive.
Why is treatment of sludge essential?
Due to its harmful effects on the environment, the retention of heavy metals, bacteria, and contamination throughout the sewage treatment process, as well as its sizeable volume, sewage sludge presents a significant concern.
Sludge from sewage must be buried for disposal. In addition to the potential for poisons, the stench is frequently very offensive. However, burying it is expensive, even in landfills. And, because of wastewater sludge, landfills that would otherwise be used as long-term dump sites are filling up considerably more quickly, than anticipated.
For this reason, researchers are looking into recycling possibilities.
Sludge as a solution for construction materials
Sludge can be used as a construction material, which is a sensible solution. Scientists have revealed that dehydrated sludge, also known as sludge ash, shares many characteristics with concrete particles.
The addition of dry sludge to concrete mixes is one approach that has demonstrated positive outcomes. Sludge ash is useful concrete aggregate when utilized in the proper proportion.
Sludge ash's value as a concrete aggregate
Sludge ash has some characteristics that make it a reliable concrete aggregate:
1: Digested and dewatered sludge produces a hard, cellular, porous substance with low unit weight, when it is burned at a high temperature. This sludge ash pile that has hardened can be broken into smaller aggregates that, when graded in the right proportions, exhibit the fundamental qualities needed of lightweight aggregates.
2: Sludge ash may be a potential source of suitable lightweight aggregates because, experimental results show that when used as aggregates in the creation of lightweight concrete, the resulting concrete satisfies the physical requirements in terms of unit weight, strength, heat-insulating properties, and fire resistance.
3: Dry sludge does not have the same impact on concrete's compressive strength as wet sludge, which can diminish it by up to 15%. As a result, up to 20% of the aggregate in concrete can be dry sludge.
Sludge ash as a material for bricks
Bricks constructed with sludge ash prove to be stronger than those created without it, unlike concrete, which loses structural integrity when too much sludge ash is used as an aggregate.
Other options for recycling dewatered sludge
Dewatered sludge is being studied as an aggregate for other building materials, such as drywall and plaster, even though concrete aggregate and brick material are currently the most viable ways to recycle it.
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