Advantages of Incinerating Sewage Sludge

Written by katherine bradley
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Advantages of Incinerating Sewage Sludge
Incineration can be environmentally friendly. (Hemera Technologies/AbleStock.com/Getty Images)

Sewage is the mix of refuse liquids or waste matter from domestic and industrial life that is flushed into the sewer. Sewage sludge is the hazardous waste that wastewater treatment facilities produce. Upon first consideration, sewage incineration may appear to be detrimental to the environment and without benefits. However, some think several advantages might outweigh the disadvantages associated with waste incineration.

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Landfills

One of the main reasons that sewage waste is tagged for incineration is that this process helps to reduce the amount, volume and weight of the waste material. Treated, environmentally safe by-products of incineration take up less space in a landfill, and therefore extend the life of active landfills. The weight of the waste products after incineration is decreased by as much as 25 per cent and the volume is reduced by approximately 10 per cent.

Advantages of Incinerating Sewage Sludge
The landfills are loaded to capacity. (Photos.com/Photos.com/Getty Images)

Heavy Metals

The heavy metals that are contained in the incinerated materials can be channelled, captured, treated and returned to the atmosphere in an environmentally friendly form. Therefore, the potential for toxic leaching of hazardous materials into the groundwater is eliminated.

Offensive Odors

The destruction of organic matter during incineration acts to reduce the release of offensive odours. Although after incineration, some trace organic materials remain that still have the potential to be offensive, new technology allows these trace materials to be exposed to a thermal treatment that reduces this potential further.

Advantages of Incinerating Sewage Sludge
Incineration reduces the presence of offensive odours. (Hemera Technologies/AbleStock.com/Getty Images)

Energy Recovery

The incineration process produces excess heat. This heat can be captured and channelled back into the incineration process, for the purpose of feeding the furnaces used in the incineration process. Also, it is possible for the excess heat to be used to preheat sludge, a necessary step in the incineration process. The excess heat can also be used to heat water in the incineration plant.

Flexibility in Location of Incinerator

Due to the noise and odour reduction in the incineration process, waste incineration plants can be located near residential areas. Since heavily populated areas produce the most waste, being located near the waste disposal site offers another benefit -- a reduction in the costs associated with transporting waste to its disposal site, since the disposal site is close to the population.

Advantages of Incinerating Sewage Sludge
An incineration plant can be located near where the waste is produced. (Thinkstock/Comstock/Getty Images)

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