Dear Visitor!

Welcome to the website of the R & D project “Development of an innovative vermicompost technology for municipal sewage sludge recycling ” which was created with the support of the program “Reduction of the waste volume and air-, water- and soilpollution (Action 1)” launched in 2016 by the Norwegian Financial Mechanism 2009-2014 within the frame of the Green Industrial Innovation program (HU-09).

The project is realized between 01.05.2016 and 04.30.2017 with the cooperation of the Inno-Water Inc. (host), the Local Government Association of Wastewater and sewage treatment of Érd Region, the Centre for Agricultural Research of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences (Institute for Soil Sciences and Agricultural Chemistry) and the Norsk Institutt for Bioøkonomi under the identification number of HU09-0095-A1-2016.

The “Development of an innovative vermicompost technology for municipal sewage sludge recycling” project has received a funding of nearly HUF 123 million (EUR 404 200) from Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway through the Norwegian Financial Mechanism.

The main objective of the project is to transform the sewage sludge that is currently considered as waste into vermicompost which can be utilized as soil improver or yield-increasing material in accordance with domestic law. The biologically treated sewage sludge contains not only many valuable nutrients beneficial to plants, but also can become one of the significant means of soil organic matter supply in Hungary. The new innovative vermicompost technology goes beyond both the vermicomposting and the conventional composting technologies, as it combines the benefits of this two basic technologies while trying to create a quality product, taking into account agronomic and environmental aspects.

Project closing

The project “Development of an innovative vermicompost technology for municipal sewage sludge recycling” ended on 04.30.2017 with the cooperation of Inno-Water Inc. (host), the Local Government Association of Wastewater and sewage treatment of Érd Region, the Centre for Agricultural Research of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences (Institute for Soil Sciences and Agricultural Chemistry) and the Norsk Institutt for Bioøkonomi.

The object of the project was to develop a new technology which is based on the combination of vermicomposting and conventional composting technologies, so that the produced end product (worm humus) contains significantly smaller concentration of targeted pollutants compared to the initial communal sewage sludge.

An alternative to conventional sewage sludge composting technology can be vermicomposting, when manure worms are placed into the starting material, so the efficiency of breakdown and transformation of organic matter is increased by the activity of worms. Compared to conventional composting, higher-quality product can be produced with vermicomposting concerning agronomical value because of the properties of the finished material such as favourable particle size distribution, more easily available nutrients for plants, presence of plant growth stimulating compounds, high metabolic enzyme activity, and better quality humic acid and humic substance content. In addition, worms are able to extract certain inorganic contaminants and accumulate them in their bodies, as well as to promote the breakdown of organic pollutants.

The current project’s development of vermicomposting technology of communal sewage sludge was based on the basics of conventional composting. The point of the development is that the fast “breakdown” stage of conventional sewage sludge composting takes place before the beginning of vermicomposting, but thereafter primarily the worms do the „conversion” process. An inoculum was used as a special additional technological element, which intensifies hydrocarbon biodegradation. The objective wass to determine the necessary technological steps and optimum conditions for the process in order to prepare good quality organic material for agriculture, taking into account both agronomic and environmental aspects.

The high TPH and Cu content of the communal sewage sludge in Érd inhibits agricultural utilization. It has been confirmed that the dewatered sewage sludge in Érd does not meet the Hungarian limit values set either for the sewage sludge categorized as waste status, or for sewage sludge compostes regarding mineral oil (TPH) content and soil hygiene parameters according to the Decree 36/2006. (V. 18.) FVM.

In frame of this project it was modelled by small-scale tests how the combined composting and the vermicomposting procedure in case of Érd’s municipal sewage sludge can be applied. The raw matters of the procedure were the following: basic mixture (digested sewage sludge and urban green waste); basic mixture and biocarbon; basic mixture and straw; basic mixture with straw and biocarbon; basic mixture and fungal compost; basic mixture with fungal compost and biocarbon. According to the test results the earthworms could adapt to each investigated mixture, but activity and reproductive studies supported that the addition-free basic mixture formation was the most appropriate for them. The presence of inoculum did not influence their behaviour. The earthworms favourably influenced the organic matter quality in the basic mixture. Both the earthworms and the TPH degrading vaccine could reduce the amount of the hydrocarbon contamination of the substance. It could be observed in respect of plant hormones that the life-activity of earthworms enriched the plant cell division controlling kinetin content in the matter mixture.

Tests of prisms were carried out by three different prism-sizes formed from the basic mixture. Prisms with earthworms, with earthworms and inoculum, and controll prisms were observed. A part of the obtained results was not able to provide information about the earthworms’ activity but rather about the applied composting technology due to the features of the prisms’ pilot-scale tests. The presence of the earthworms favourably influenced the TPH content, which is crucial to utilise the compost. More significant reduction was achieved in case of the tests with inoculation treatment. According to the test results, the use of larger prisms means advantage to degrade TPH.

A special setting was developed (a prototype prism) based on the test results above in order to realize vermicompost technology in industrial conditions. This is a kind of dynamic model with daily feeding of raw matter and taking-away of vermi-humus. This near-permanent vermicompost production ensuring small-scale prototype of prism was rebuilt and winterised as the project progressed. Later a larger sized prototype of prism was made by using the previous experiences. This newly-developed prototype was found fit for full-scale testing.

The analytical investigation of best quality matter made during the tests was carried out based on the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development Decree 36/2006. (V. 18.). The vermicompost made from Érd’s municipal sewage sludge complies with the limits of TPH and the main soil-hygienic parameters in order to utilise it. During vermicomposting, the TPH and Cu content was reduced significantly compared to the initial sludge. The investigated vermicompost sample can be classified to the 2nd category according to the Norwegian legislation. This can be utilised in agricultural areas, private gardens and parks in amounts of 20 t/ha/10 years.

The vermicompost (worm humus) was analysed in several laboratory tests during the project (both by domestic partners but also by the NIBIO). It was ascertained according to the results that vermicompost acts as fertilizer and soil-conditioner, and it is also suitable for raw matter development of grower substances.

A comprehensive description of the vermicompost technology, the vermicomposting manual was created as a result of the project. The technological steps were taken in line, the treatment processes were described in detail, and the monitoring plan was added. All authorisations of vermicomposting sites, the terms of their authorisation conditions and the official information and notification requirements were shown.

The carried-out tasks in frame of the project were realised fully in the planned partnership fulfilling the targeted project objectives maximally.

Project Closing Conference – Report

The Project Closing Conference of the R+D project “Development of an innovative vermicompost technology for municipal sewage sludge recycling ” was successfully held on the 25th of April 2017 with the contribution of the Inno-Water Inc. , the Local Government Association of Wastewater and sewage treatment of Érd Region, the Centre for Agricultural Research of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences (Institute for Soil Sciences and Agricultural Chemistry) and the Norsk Institutt for Bioøkonom.

Project Closing Conference Invitation

On the behalf of Inno-Water Environmental Research and Services Inc., the Local Government Association of Wastewater and sewage treatment of Érd Region, the Centre for Agricultural Research of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences (Institute for Soil Sciences and Agricultural Chemistry, and the Norwegian Institute of Bioeconomy Research, we would like to kindly invite you to participate in the  Project Closing Conference of the “Development of an innovative vermicompost technology for municipal sewage sludge recycling” project supported by the Norwegian Financial Mechanism within the frame of the Green Industrial Innovation program (HU-09).

Date: 25th April 2017.
Location: 2030 Érd, Alsó u. 1. Polgárok háza, Hungary
Invitation and the planned program: Conference Invitation 25.04.2017.

Norwegian Knowledge Transfer

Within the framework of the „Development of an innovative vermicompost technology for municipal sewage sludge recycling” R+D project between the 26th– 27th September 2016 a Norwegian Knowledge Transfer and field trip was held in Ås and Drammen. The recent partial results were discussed, and the meeting was a great opportunity to widen and deepen the professional relationship between NIBIO and the Hungarian partners.

Project Opening Conference – Report

The Project Opening Conference of the R+D project “Development of an innovative vermicompost technology for municipal sewage sludge recycling ” was successfully held on the 14th of July 2016 with the contribution of the Inno-Water Inc. , the Local Government Association of Wastewater and sewage treatment of Érd Region, the Centre for Agricultural Research of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences (Institute for Soil Sciences and Agricultural Chemistry) and the Norsk Institutt for Bioøkonom. The welcome speech was given by András T. Mészáros, the Mayor of Érd Town and Anita Szabó PhD, the Project Leader and Chief Executive Officer of Inno-Water Inc.

Project Opening Conference Invitation

On the behalf of Inno-Water Environmental Research and Services Inc., the Local Government Association of Wastewater and sewage treatment of Érd Region, the Centre for Agricultural Research of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences (Institute for Soil Sciences and Agricultural Chemistry, and the Norwegian Institute of Bioeconomy Research, we would like to kindly invite you to participate in the  Project Opening Conference of the “Development of an innovative vermicompost technology for municipal sewage sludge recycling” project.

Date: 14th July 2016.
Location: 2030 Érd, Alsó u. 1. Polgárok háza, Hungary
Invitation and the planned program: Conference Invitation

 

Kickoff meeting

The  starter kickoff meeting of the R+D project “Development of an innovative vermicompost technology for municipal sewage sludge recycling ” was held on the 21st of June 2016. After the introduction of the partners, the current tasks were discussed and we visited the Érd Wastewater Treatment Plant and our project site at the Érd Wate Recycling Plant.