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Strategic management of non-point source pollution from sewage sludge

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Paul Quinn, Dr Steven Merrett


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In the UK, the recycling of sewage sludge to land is expected to double by 2006 but the security of this route is threatened by environmental concerns and health scares. Strategic investment is needed to ensure sustainable and secure sludge recycling outlets. At present, the security of this landbank for sludge recycling is determined by legislation relating to nutrient rather than potentially toxic elements (PTEs) applications to land - especially the environmental risk linked to soil phosphorus (P) saturation. We believe that not all land has an equal risk of contributing nutrients derived from applications to land to receiving waters. We are currently investigating whether it is possible to minimise nutrient loss by applying sludge to land outside Critical Source Areas (CSAs) regardless of soil P Index status. Research is underway to develop a predictive and spatially-sensitive, semi-distributed model of critical thresholds for sludge application that goes beyond traditional "end-of-pipe" or "edge-of-field" modelling, to include hydrological flow paths and delivery mechanisms to receiving waters from non-point sources at the catchment scale.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Burke S, Heathwaite AL, Quinn PF, Merrett S, Whitehead PG, Preedy N, Lerner DN, Saul AJ

Publication type: Conference Proceedings (inc. Abstract)

Publication status: Published

Conference Name: 3rd World Water Congress of the International Water Association: Integrated Water Resources Management

Year of Conference: 2002

Pages: 305-310

ISSN: 0273-1223

Publisher: Water Science and Technology: IWA Publishing


PubMed id: 12793694