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Towards a Sustainable Approach to Sludge Management


The lively discussion during the Thematic Session ‘Towards a Sustainable Approach to Sludge Management: legal frameworks and technological solutions in Edinburgh showcased the diversity of national and local situations relating to sludge management and the issues faced by water operators.

The meeting, which relied also on contributions of external experts from the European Environment Agency and the Polytechnic University of Milan, aimed to address the growing concerns regarding the management of the sludge resulting from the process of waste water or drinking water treatment, especially in the context of a global move towards circularity.

Whilst the opportunities exist to benefit from the materials, nutrients and energy that can be recovered from sludge, the discussions, from expert and technical levels, highlighted emerging challenges, including complex legal frameworks, closing or unstable market outlets for bioresources and negative perceptions.

ReportThe morning closed with the conclusion that there is a collective responsibility in ensuring a sustainable future and operators face similar issues when dealing with sludge: whilst innovation and technology are key instruments in this process, a coherent set enabling conditions – on regulation, market and public acceptance - is necessary to allow to take the full advantage of sludge and its benefits.  

Read more in our comprehensive report.