Doing the important things together.
Partnership for pioneering sewage sludge recycling.
With EEW Energy from Waste, municipalities are well prepared for the requirements of the future. As the operator of the largest and most modern plant park in Germany with around 30 years of experience in waste recycling and disposal, we have the necessary expertise and excellence to develop custom-fit solutions for pioneering sewage sludge recycling that conserves resources. In sewage sludge utilization, build on the partnership with EEW Energy from Waste and thus on an expertise that is a shared perspective.
With the construction of sewage sludge mono-incineration plants at EEW plant locations that are already well prepared for tomorrow, we are thinking ahead for the long term and making investments that will pay off for municipalities in the long term. Using the existing infrastructure at EEW sites creates meaningful synergies that reduce costs and also pay off for the environment. The use of the leading technology of sewage sludge mono-incineration also enables a phosphorus recovery rate of over 80 percent in downstream processes. In addition, the EEW plant network in Germany and neighboring countries offers municipalities significant advantages in the area of logistics and at the same time represents a unique outage network. We thus guarantee the highest degree of disposal security.
With EEW Energy from Waste, you choose a sewage sludge recycling system that sets standards in terms of environmental protection and resource conservation.
We turn waste into energy and challenges into solutions.
The thermal utilization of sewage sludge is becoming increasingly important. While for decades it was common practice to use sewage sludge contaminated with pollutants as fertilizer in agriculture, legislation has now set the course for far more environmentally friendly sewage sludge utilization.
As Germany's leading company in the generation of electricity and heat through thermal waste recycling, we are taking on this important task and aim to set an example with pioneering sewage sludge recycling. For municipalities, we develop tailor-made solutions that are sure to meet the requirements of the future. Take advantage of our expertise and innovative strength for exemplary sustainable sewage sludge recycling in your region.
Sewage sludge. A burden on soil and water.
Sewage sludge is waste from wastewater treatment. It contains everything that modern sewage treatment plants filter out of wastewater in a complex process to keep rivers, seas, groundwater and, not least, our drinking water reservoirs clean.
Every year, around 1.8 million metric tons of sewage sludge dry matter are produced in Germany during the treatment of municipal wastewater. In particular, sewage sludge from wastewater treatment plants in large cities and metropolitan areas is significantly contaminated with pollutants such as heavy metals, organic pollutants, pharmaceutical residues, pathogens and microplastics. At the same time, sewage sludge also contains phosphorus as a resource. This nutrient, which is vital for all of us, promotes plant growth. This is another reason why sewage sludge has been used as a fertilizer in agriculture for decades.
Over time, agricultural sewage sludge utilization has come under increasing criticism. This is because, despite pretreatment, sewage sludge contains pollutants that are dispersed in soils and waters and ultimately enter our food chain.
In addition, an oversupply of phosphates promotes the eutrophication or overfertilization of streams, rivers and lakes.
It is time to act so that neither our environment nor our health are polluted.
Knowing what is becoming important.
Legal regulations for fertilizers and sewage sludge lead to a need for action.
Knowledge about the pollution of our soils and waters by sewage sludge, as well as growing environmental and health awareness, have led to a rethink. After years of discussion, the legislature set the course in 2017 for far more environmentally conscious sewage sludge utilization.
The adapted Fertilizer Ordinance (DüMV) has implications for sewage sludge that can be used in agriculture. From the beginning of 2019, fertilizers containing synthetic polymers may only be used if the amount of synthetic polymers applied does not exceed 45 kilograms of active substance per hectare within three years. As a result, as of January 1, 2019, many sewage sludges can no longer be used as fertilizers.
The amendment to the Sewage Sludge Ordinance (AbfKlärV), which was also passed, also aims to reduce the agricultural use of sewage sludge and ensure phosphorus recovery. From 2029, phosphorus recovery will be mandatory for wastewater treatment plants with an expansion stage of at least 100,000 population equivalents (p.e.). Three years later, the same will apply to plants with a population equivalent of at least 50,000. The plants concerned treat around two-thirds of the wastewater generated in Germany.
For large sewage treatment plants, the Sewage Sludge Ordinance stipulates that, in addition to the obligation to recover phosphorus, there is also an obligation to dispose of it thermally. The phosphorus content of the sewage sludge must be reduced by at least 50 percent or to less than 20 grams per kilogram of dry matter.
The implementation of these regulations will result in an immediate need for action for many municipalities. As a partner of the municipalities, we are ready to develop tailor-made solutions for a pioneering resource-saving sewage sludge utilization. Particularly at existing EEW sites, useful synergies with existing waste incineration plants can be achieved.