The Sewage Sludge Directive 86/278/EEC was adopted about 30 years ago with a view to encourage sewage sludge reuse in agriculture and to regulate its use. Meanwhile, some EU Member States have adopted stricter standards and management practices than those specified in the Directive. In particular, the majority of Member States has introduced more stringent standards for sludge quality, including stricter limits for most potentially toxic elements, organic contaminants and other elements. In general, untreated sludge is no longer applied and in several Member States it is prohibited. In some cases, stringent standards have resulted in an effective ban on use of sludge in agriculture. Moreover, the implementation of the Urban Wastewater Treatment Directive 91/271/EC should increase EU production of sewage sludge, thus enhancing problems related to sustainable sewage sludge management. Additionally, European legislation prohibits the landfill and water deposits of sewage sludge. The latest trends in the field of sludge management, ie combustion, pyrolysis, gasification and co-combustion, have generated significant scientific interest. This trend is specially strong visible in “new” EU Members countries which have to introduce strong EU Directive in their low system. Here the review the state of knowledge and technology in thermal methods for the utilization of municipal sewage sludge to obtain useful forms of energy such as pyrolysis, gasification, combustion, and co-combustion taking into consideration Poland situation is presented.
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