Effect of Composting Process on Some Chemical-Biological Properties and Heavy Metals Behavior of Municipal Sewage Sludge as Affected by Various Bulking Agents

Document Type : Original Research Paper


1 Department of Environment, Institute of Science and High Technology and Environmental Sciences, Graduate University of Advanced Technology, Kerman, Iran

2 Department of Horticultural, Factually of agriculture, Shahid Bahonar University of Kerman, Kerman, Iran

3 Department of Chemistry, Shahid Bahonar University of Kerman, Kerman, Iran

4 Soil and Water Research Department, Kerman Agricultural and Natural Resources Research and Education Center, AREEO, Kerman, Iran


The present study tries to investigate the effect of composting process on some properties and heavy metals status of two municipal sewage sludge (MSS) as affected by three different organic bulking agents (BAs) at three levels (10%, 25%, and 45% V/V). According to the results, the composting process could reduce the fecal coliform to class A, a reduction more obvious in treatments with BAs than produced composts without them. Changes in the chemical properties of the composts vary according to the type of MSS and Bas. Based on the compost quality standard, most of the produced samples are classified in compost-class II. Examination of the total form of three heavy metals (HMs: Zn, Ni, Fe) of both MSS shows that composting process without BAs increases the HMs total concentration, but using of BAs have not been clear trends. In the contrary, BAs application reduced the available form of Fe and Ni, but increased the Zn available form. Examination of chemical forms of each studied HMs also shows that the composting process reduces the Ni and Fe mobility factor, but increases that of Zn. Generally, while, prepared composts can classify into the compost-class II, based on their properties, the high concentration of total Zn above the standard limit makes it extremely restrictive to be used as class II compost. However, according to EPA regulations, the composts with this concentration of Zn can be used as a relatively safe organic material on agricultural land.


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