Task 3 – Site investigations
August 2008

Project partners: SNIFFER, SEPA, NIEA, Scottish Government, Forestry Commission, Health Protection Scotland

Use of the report
The technical document has been developed through a collaborative project, managed and facilitated by SNIFFER and has involved the members and partners. It provides background information, within the confines of the project brief, to support and inform member organisations and others.
Whilst the document is considered to represent the best available scientific information and expert opinion available to the consultant at the stage of completion of the report, within the confines of the specification given, it does not represent the final or policy positions of SNIFFER or any of its partner agencies, and it recognises that the historic practices regarding sewage sludge recycling  discussed are not current practice within the UK.

Background to research

Although there is a great deal of research and scientific data on sewage sludge application to land, much of this relates to modest application rates on agricultural land.  In recent years there has been a substantial increase in the amount applied to forestry, and to former opencast coal sites in the UK for purposes of land restoration.  Application rates of sewage sludge have been considerably higher than traditionally practiced, and sludge has been applied using different techniques.  There is concern that poorly managed practices could result in risks to human health, water, air and soil quality and to biodiversity.  Public and political interest is high and this project will address the urgent need to review this activity and develop decision support systems and guidelines to ensure that the activities will not affect public health or adversely affect the environment.

Objectives of research

In detail, the project aims to:
The objective of the report is to report on the findings from the completion of the second aim, the quantitative site assessment.  Two reports were originally published in 2007 detailing the results of the desk-based literature review of the potential impacts of the application of sewage sludge on human health (Task 1) and the environment respectively (Task 2). A further two reports will be published covering the third project aim, outlining a decision support tool for the use of sewage sludge in land reclamation and forestry respectively (Tasks 4 to 6).  
Key findings

Key words: Sewage sludge, Land Reclamation, Forestry, Soil, Environment, Human Health, Water

Copies of this report are available from the Foundation, in electronic format on CDRom at 20.00 + VAT or hard copy at 25.00, less 20% to FWR members.
N.B. The report is available for download from the SNIFFER Website 

All rights reserved.  No part of this document may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise without the prior permission of SNIFFER