Smart sludge handling in the Baltic Sea Region

The project IWAMA led by the UBC SCC continues its work on improving the resource efficiency in the wastewater treatment sector of the Baltic Sea Region. With altogether six international workshops planned in its scope, on 8–9 February 2018 in Tartu, Estonia, IWAMA organized its fourth event focused on Smart Sludge Management. The workshop brought together more than 95 participants representing regional organizations, national ministries, universities and local practitioners to discuss sludge handling issues in the Baltic Sea Region.

The workshop was opened with the welcoming words from the head of the Tartu Waterworks Toomas Kapp introducing Tartu – the city of good thoughts. Tartu Waterworks has been functioning since 1929, and today the organization successfully governs water, sewerage and storm water networks in the city. As an IWAMA partner, Tartu Waterworks is implementing a pilot investment on the local wastewater treatment plant to enhance the sludge water treatment.

As the workshop was focused on sludge management, its agenda was structured along this narrative. The topic was opened with the issues of German, Finnish and Estonian legislation concerning sludge, and the European context that were presented by speakers from environmental ministries and Estonian university. For the more complex picture, the presentations were followed by introducing the vision of HELCOM on sewage sludge handling and recycling of nutrients.

Invited to the panel discussions, the speakers could discuss further the legislative changes concerning sludge and perspectives on its future use. The panelists emphasized, among other points, that any regulation has to consider the total impact on the environment, and that tailored solutions should be foreseen for each local and regional case when discussing the perspectives of sludge handling. This sphere requires the development of technologies and extensive dialogue that will support its harmonization on the regional scope.

The rich and fruitful event continued in Tartu for two days with exploring further more practical use and handling of sludge. Materials from the workshop and more information are available on the IWAMA website.