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Sludge treatment wetland for treating microalgae digestate grown in agricultural runoff: a technical, economic, and environmental assessment

Abstract: The management and disposal of wastewater treatment sludge can be a costly and resourceintensive process. To provide a cost-effective and sustainable alternative, Sludge Treatment Wetlands (STW) have emerged as a viable solution for enhancing sludge quality through dewatering and biodegradation. In this study, the effectiveness of a full-scale STW for stabilizing and dewatering digested microalgal biomass from a domestic and agricultural wastewater treatment system was evaluated. The properties of the treated digestate in the STW were assessed after 35 weeks of operation and a resting period of 4 weeks. The dry matter content was found to be 12.8%, and the average macronutrient content was K: 3.8 mg/g DW, P: 4.9 mg/g DW, and Ca: 95 mg/g DW. The highest contents of micronutrients were for Fe: 7.8 mg/g DW and Mg: 7.6 mg/g DW, while heavy metals and pathogen contents were below the EC limits for sewage sludge reuse in agriculture. The STW was found to be a cost-effective and environmentally friendly option for treating mixed wastewater-based sludge for land application. The STW outperformed reference systems using centrifuge dewatering techniques, particularly in terms of eutrophication potential and acidification potential. However, the STW?s economic performance was slightly worse than that of the dewatering system in terms of unit production cost. This study is the first in the literature to investigate the use of STW for treating digested microalgae and its possible reuse in arable land, suggesting that STW infrastructures have great potential for the development of sustainable and eco-friendly sludge treatment technologies.

 Autoría: Gonzalez-Flo E., Ortiz A., A. Arias C., Díez-Montero R., Kohlheb N., Schauser U.H., García J., Gregersen P.K.S.,

 Fuente: Water, 2023, 15, 2159

 Editorial: MDPI

 Año de publicación: 2023

 Nº de páginas: 15

 Tipo de publicación: Artículo de Revista

 DOI: 10.3390/w15122159

 ISSN: 2073-4441

Autoría

GONZÁLEZ FLO, EVA

ORTIZ, ANTONIO

ARIAS, CARLOS A.

KOHLHEB, NORBERT

SCHAUSER, ULF-HENNING

GARCÍA, JOAN

GREGERSEN, PEDER K. S.