Evaluation of vermicomposting of municipal sewage sludges in Ireland
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From the research conducted, it is concluded that vermicomposting of dewatered municipal sludges in small rural wastewater treatment plants still has a number of technical and economic problems, before it could be considered a viable alternative to existing systems. The pilot scale unit designed in Bangor Erris indicated that heavy metal concentrations were low in the raw sludge, indicating that it’s use as a fertiliser/soil conditioner is feasible. The trial indicated some earthworm stabilisation. There was no odours. There was a loss of phosphorous from the worm bed. Most of the research and development on vermicomposting has been conducted in, Australia and America where climatic conditions are quite different to Ireland. Therefore more research in an Irish context is necessary to evaluate the system. It is essential that critical parameters such as temperature, moisture content, bedding material and sludge loading to bed as well as earthworm application rates to bed are controlled. For the past decade, vermicomposting systems have been used in Ireland with very little success. Given this time frame and the number of failed attempts, we are still in the development phase of large scale vermicomposting.
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