DOI 10.35776/MNP.2020.05.10
UDC 628.169

Kofman V. Ya.

Water sludge: composition, properties, disposal in wastewater treatment (a review)


Advanced water treatment schemes are inevitably associated with water sludge generation, the volume of which becomes a separate problem that is comparable to the scale of the actual production of drinking water. In this regard, utilization of water sludge is considered today as a priority task in the research and ​​development in this area. Based on the results of almost thirty years of studies, the main areas of potential use of water sludge have been identified; one of them being water and wastewater treatment. The results of numerous studies evidence the perspectiveness of using water sludge as an adsorbent of phosphates, arsenic, and also heavy metals: Cu, Cd, Cr, Co, Pb, Hg, Zn, Ni, V, Mo, Ga, and Se. Under the conditions of pilot tests, studies were conducted on the extraction of coagulants from water sludge, and on the direct use of water sludge as a coagulant, as well as on its use for enhancing excess activated sludge dewatering. Using water sludge in the foundation of bioengineering facilities, as well as a catalyst for the activation of persulfate and peroxomonosulfate in the destruction of organic micropollutants in the aquatic environment also made good results.

Key words

, , , , ,

The further text is accessible on a paid subscription.
For authorisation enter the login/password.
Or subscribe


  1. Shen C., Zhao Y., Li W., et al. Global profile of heavy metals and semimetals adsorption using drinking water treatment residual. Chemical Engineering Journal, 2019, v. 372, pp. 1019–1027.
  2. Zhao Y., Liu R., Awe O. W., et al. Acceptability of land application of alum-based water treatment residuals – An explicit and comprehensive review. Chemical Engineering Journal, 2018, v. 353, pp. 717–726.
  3. Ahmad T., Ahmad K., Alam M. Sustainable management of water treatment sludge through 3‘R’ concept. Journal of Cleaner Production, 2016, v. 124, pp. 1–13.
  4. George D. B., Berk S. G., Adams V. D., et al. Toxicity of alum sludge extracts to a freshwater alga, protozoan, fish, and marine bacterium. Archives of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology, 1995, v. 29 (2), pp. 149–158.
  5. Sotero-Santos R. B., Rocha O., Povinelli J. Evaluation of water treatment .sludge toxicity using the Daphnia bioassay. Water Research, 2005, v. 39 (16), pp. 3909–3917.
  6. Lin C.-F., Wu C.-H., Ho H.-M. Recovery of municipal waste incineration bottom ash and water treatment sludge to water permeable pavement materials. Waste Management, 2006, v. 26, pp. 970–978.
  7. Kleinschmidt R., Akber R. Naturally occurring radionuclides in materials derived from urban water treatment plants in southeast Queensland, Australia. Journal of Environnment Quality, 2008, v. 99, pp. 607–620.
  8. Shen C., Zhao Y., Li W., et al. Global profile of heavy metals and semimetals adsorption using drinking water treatment residual. Chemical Engineering Journal, 2019, v. 372, pp. 1019–1027.
  9. Babatunde A. O., Zhao Y. Q., Yang Y., Kearney P. Reuse of dewatered aluminium-coagulated water treatment residual to immobilize phosphorus: batch and column trials using a condensed phosphate. Chemical Engineering Journal, 2008, v. 136, pp. 108–115.
  10. Razali M., Zhao Y. Q., Bruen M. Effectiveness of a drinking water treatment sludge in removing different phosphorus species from aqueous solution. Separation and Purification Technology, 2007, v. 55, pp. 300–306.
  11. Gibbons M. K., Gagnon G. A. Understanding removal of phosphate or arsenate onto water treatment residual solids. Journal of Hazardous Materials, 2011, v. 186, pp. 1916–1923.
  12. Bai L., Wang C., Pei Y., Zhao J. Reuse of drinking water treatment residuals in a continuous stirred tank reactor for phosphate removal from urban wastewater. Environmental Technology, 2014, v. 35 (21), pp. 2752–2759.
  13. Gibbons M. K., Gagnon G. A. Adsorption of arsenic from a Nova Scotia groundwater onto water treatment residual solids. Water Research, 2014, v . 44, pp. 5740–5749.
  14. Wu C., Lin C., Chen R. Regeneration and reuse of water treatment plant sludge: adsorbent for cations. Journal of Environmental Science and Health, part A, 2004, v. 39 (3), pp. 717–728.
  15. Lin L., Xu X., Papelis C., et al. Sorption of metals and metalloids from reverse osmosis concentrate on drinking water treatment solids. Separation and Purification Technology, 2014, v. 134, pp. 37–45.
  16. Chiang Y. W., Ghyselbrecht K., Santos R. M., et al. Adsorption of multi-heavy metals onto water treatment residuals: Sorption capacities and applications. Chemical Engineering Journal, 2012, v. 200–202, pp. 405–415.
  17. Zhou Y. F., Haynes R. J. Removal of Pb (II), Cr (III) and Cr (VI) from aqueous solutions using alum-derived water treatment sludge. Water, Air, and Soil Pollution, 2011 v. 215, pp. 631–643.
  18. Castaldi P., Silvetti M., Garau G., et al. Copper (II) and lead (II) removal from aqueous solution by water treatment residues. Journal of Hazardous Materials, 2015, v. 283, pp. 140–147.
  19. Silvetti M., Castaldi P., Garau G. Sorption of cadmium (II) and zinc (II) from aqueous solution by water treatment residuals at different pH values. Water, Air, and Soil Pollution, 2015, v. 226, article № 313.
  20. Zhou Y.-F., Haynes R. J. A comparison of inorganic solid wastes as adsorbents of heavy metal cations in aqueous solution and their capacity for desorption and regeneration. Water, Air, and Soil Pollution, 2011, v. 218, pp. 457–470.
  21. Moharem M., Elkhatib E., Mesalem M. Remediation of chromium and mercury polluted calcareous soils using nanoparticles: Sorption–desorption kinetics, speciation and fractionation. Environmental Research, 2019, v. 170, pp. 366–373.
  22. Wu C., Lin C., Chen W. Regeneration and reuse of water treatment plant sludge: adsorbent for cations. Journal of Environmental Science and Health, part A, 2004, v. 39, pp. 717–728.
  23. Soleimanifar H., Deng Y., Wu L., Sarkar D. Water treatment residual (WTR)-coated wood mulch for alleviation of toxic metals and phosphorus from polluted urban stormwater runoff. Chemosphere, 2016, v. 154, pp. 289–292.
  24. Deng Y., Morris, C., Rakshit, S., et al. Water treatment residuals and scrap tire rubber as green sorbents for removal of stormwater metals. Water Environment Research, 2016, v. 88, pp. 500–509.
  25. Awab H., Paramalinggam T. Mussel shell and waterworks sludge as sorbent materials for the removal of Cu (II) from aqueous solution. Malaysian Journal of Fundamental and Applied Sciences, 2014, v. 7, pp. 1–5.
  26. Lin C., Wang J., Zhen W. Experimental study on sintering ceramsite filter material with sludge. Zheijiang gongue daxue xuebao (Journal of Zheijang University of Technology), 2018, v. 46, no. 5, рр. 585–590.
  27. Zhang R., Leiviska T., Tanskanen J. Utilization of ferric groundwater treatment residuals for inorganic-organic hybrid biosorbent preparation and its use for vanadium removal. Chemical Engineering Journal, 2019, v. 361, pp. 680–689.
  28. Xu G. R., Yan Z. C.,Wang Y. C.,Wang N. Recycle of alum recovered from water treatment sludge in chemically enhanced primary treatment. Journal of Hazardous Materials, 2009, v. 161, pp. 663–669.
  29. Keeley J., Jarvis P., Judd S. J. An economic assessment of coagulant recovery from water treatment residuals. Desalination, 2012, v. 287, pp. 132–137.
  30. Prakash P., Sengupta A. K. Selective coagulant recovery from water treatment plant residuals using Donnan membrane process. Environmental Science and Technology, 2003, v. 37 (19), pp. 4468–4474.
  31. Basibuyuk M., Kalat D. G. The use of waterworks sludge for the treatment of vegetable oil refinery industry wastewater. Journal of Environmental Technology, 2004, v. 25 (3), pp. 373–380.
  32. Nair A. T., Ahammed M. M. The reuse of water treatment sludge as a coagulant for post-treatment of UASB reactor treating urban wastewater. Journal of Cleaner Production, 2015, v. 96, pp. 272–281.
  33. Yang Y., Zhao Y. Q., Babatunde A. O., Kearney P. Co-conditioning of the anaerobic digested sludge of a municipal wastewater treatment plant with alum sludge: benefit of phosphorus reduction in reject water. Water Environment Research, 2007, v. 79 (13), pp. 2468–2476.
  34. Zhao Y. Q., Babatunde A. O., Hu Y. S., et al. Pilot field-scale demonstration of a novel alum sludge-based constructed wetland system for enhanced wastewater treatment. Process Biochemistry, 2011, v. 46, pp. 278–283.
  35. Hu Y. S., Zhao Y. Q., Zhao X. H., et al. High rate nitrogen removal in an alum sludge-based intermittent aeration constructed wetland. Environmental Science and Technology, 2012, v. 46, pp. 4583–4590.
  36. Bai L., Wang C., Huang C., et al. Reuse of drinking water treatment residuals as a substrate in constructed wetlands for sewage tertiary treatment. Journal of Ecological Engineering. 2014, v. 70, pp. 295–303.
  37. Babatunde A. O., Kumar J. L. G., Zhao Y. Constructed wetlands using aluminium-based drinking water treatment sludge as P-removing substrate: should aluminium release be a concern. Journal of Environmental Monitoring, 2011, v. 13 (6), pp. 1775–1783.
  38. Qi C., Yu G., Huang J., et al. Activation of persulfate by modified drinking water treatment residuals for sulfamethoxazole degradation. Chemical Engineering Journal, 2018, v. 353, pp. 490–498.
  39. Zhang H., Liu X., Lin C., et al. Peroxymonosulfate activation by hydroxylamine-drinking water treatment residuals for the degradation of atrazine. Chemosphere, 2019, v. 224, pp. 689–697.
  40. Li X., Liu X., Lin C., et al. Cobalt ferrite nanoparticles supported on drinking water treatment residuals: An efficient magnetic heterogeneous catalyst to activate peroxymonosulfate for the degradation atrasine. Chemical Engineering Journal, 2019, v. 367, pp. 208–218.
  41. Sanchis R., Dejoz A., Vazquez I., et al. Ferric sludge from process of water purification as an efficient catalyst and or support for the removal of volatile organic compounds. Chemosphere, 2019, v. 219, pp. 286–295.

Banner Oct 2024

myproject msk ru

Баннер конференции г. Пятигорск

souz ingenerov 02

Aquatherm 200x200 gif ru foreign

ata 200x100ru