29 January 1999
‘Dont dump sludge’ — Soil Association

By FWi staff

THE Soil Association has called for more farmers to use sewage sludge on their land – but only if it is properly treated.

Sewage sludge should be used by farmers rather than dumped in landfills or incinerated, said Patrick Holden, Soil Association director, told a conference in East Anglia.

Sludge is a valuable resource and its natural disposal place is farmland, he said.

“We have to grasp the nettle, communicate with the public and clean up the product if that is necessary,” Mr Holden told a national water industry conference.

Retailers are concerned about the use of sewage sludge on farmland because of public alarm about the risk of pathogens entering the human food chain.

Sewage companies are already treating some of the sludges they produce to appease the supermarket chains.

Anglian Water, the sewage authority in the eastern counties, says it already treats one-third of its sludge and is considering proposals to treat all it produces.