Review of sewage sludge rules despite fall in metal levels

Metal levels in sewage sludge have declined substantially over the last ten years, a study sponsored by the Ministry of Agriculture (MAFF) and the Department of the Environment (DoE) has found. But pressures to double the amount of sludge dispersed on agricultural land by 2006 have prompted the Government to order a review of the impact on soil fertility of current disposal practices.

The main purpose of the study, which was conducted by Consultants in Environmental Sciences (CES), was to enable the UK to fulfil its duty under the 1986 EC Directive on disposal of sewage sludge to land to report sludge quality to the European Commission.

Data for the study were obtained from records kept by sewerage undertakers. The results are incomplete, covering only 85% of the sludge spread on land in 1990/1 and only 80% of the 52,4

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