German-Polish exchange on sewage sludge management

Group of people with yellow hard hats looking at technical installationClick to enlarge
The study tour included stops at exemplary German sewage sludge utilisation plants.
Source: Gdansk Water Foundation

What can be done with the sewage sludge which is generated during waste water treatment? How can valuable materials be recovered and pollutants prevented from entering the environment? The German Federal Environment Ministry (BMUB) invited a Polish delegation on a study tour to promote exchange between the two countries. The group visited exemplary sewage sludge utilisation plants in Germany.

The one-week study tour was part of a project which was funded by the BMUB Advisory Assistance Programme and which ended in February 2015.The focus of activities was on facilities for phosphorus recovery from sewage sludge and for thermal sewage sludge utilisation (mono-incineration). The project was technically supervised by UBA and by the Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing (BAM). The Gdansk Water Foundation organised the study tour on the Polish side. Participants included representatives of municipal wastewater treatment plants, sewage sludge incineration plants and decision makers of Polish public authorities.

In addition to visiting the sewage sludge mono-incineration plants in Berlin, Neu-Ulm, Altenstadt, Munich, Straubing and Nuremburg, the focus was on identifying solutions to technical problems at existing plants in Poland which have the same design. The experts also visited a plant for phosphorus recovery by means of magnesium ammonium phosphate (MAP) precipitation in Berlin-Waßmannsdorf. A seminar at the end of the tour provided information on current political developments in sewage sludge utilisation in Germany and on technical concepts for phosphorus recovery and ash utilisation. In a final summing up session, the participants discussed possibilities for transferring German solutions to Poland and a continuation of technical cooperation on this topic. Both the Polish participants and the German hosts expressed a great interest in continued cooperation.

The successful study tour fully met the aim of promoting innovative concepts and techniques in sewage sludge utilisation beyond Germany's borders and of strengthening technical cooperation on phosphorus recovery and sewage sludge mono-incineration in the EU.