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Composting Domestic Sewage Sludge With Natural Zeolites in a Rotary Drum Reactor

Sewage Sludge Composting Machine Compost

Keywords: Sludge composting, Zeolite, Metal uptake, Nitrogen retention, Metal leachability

Abstract: This work aimed the influence of zeolites addition on a sludge-straw composting process using a pilotscale rotary drum reactor. The type and concentration of three commercial natural zeolites were considered: a mordenite and two clinoptilolites (Klinolith and Zeocat). Mordenite caused the greatest carbon removal (58%), while the clinoptilolites halved losses of ammonium. All zeolites removed 100% of Ni, Cr, Pb, and significant amounts (more than 60%) of Cu, Zn and Hg. Zeocat displayed the greatest retention of ammonium and metals, and retention efficiencies increased as Zeocat concentration increased. The addition of 10% Zeocat produced compost compliant with Spanish regulations. Zeolites were separated from the final compost, and leaching studies suggested that zeolites leachates contained very low metals concentrations (<1 mg/kg). Thus, the final compost could be applied directly to soil, or metal-polluted zeolites could be separated from the compost prior to application. The different options have been discussed.

Authors: J. Villaseñor, L. Rodríguez, F.J. Fernández

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