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The Nitrogen Fertilizer Value of Selected South African Biosolids as Affected by Drying Depth on Beds

Original scientific paper

Journal of Sustainable Development of Energy, Water and Environment Systems
ARTICLE IN PRESS (volume and issue assigned later), 1080361
Eyob H. Tesfamariam1 , Elvis M. Malobane1, Craig C. Cogger2, Ikenna Mbakwe1
1 Department of Plant and Soil Sciences, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, South Africa
2 Department of Crop and Soil Sciences, Washington State University, Puyallup, USA


Wastewater treatment and post-treatment drying techniques play crucial role on the fertiliser value of biosolids. The aim of this study was to investigate a) the nitrogen fertilizer value of biosolids from selected biosolid treatment and post treatment dewatering techniques b) the effect of drying depth and time on the nitrogen content of biosolid. To achieve the first aim, laboratory nitrogen mineralization study was conducted using thermally-hydrolysed-biosolid, activated-biosolid, and anaerobically-digested-biosolids. To achieve the second aim five drying depths were tested (5, 10, 15, 20 and 25 cm). Nitrogen release per tonne biosolid applied was highest for activated (24 kg), and lowest for anaerobically-digested-biosolid (6 kg). Highest total nitrogen was reported for 10 cm drying depth (3.63%) (4 weeks) and lowest for 25 cm (2.64%) (8 weeks). Selection of appropriate biosolid treatment and dewatering technique is key to improve fertiliser value of biosolids.

Keywords: Thermally-hydrolysed-biosolid, Activated-sludge, Anaerobically-digested-biosolid, Lignin, Soluble compounds, Cellulose, Drying bed, Nitrogen fertilizer value.

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