DISCUSSION ON LEGAL AND PRACTICAL JUSTIFICATION OF USING WASTEWATER SEWAGE SLUDGE
Honorowy Prezes Polskiego Towarzystwa Inżynierii Ekologicznej
Instytut Ochrony Środowiska – PIB, ul. Krucza 5/11, 00-548 Warszawa
Inż. Ekolog. 2015; 45:1–20
Publish date: 2015-11-15
Unjustifiable introduction to the soil of sewage sludge from a Białystok wastewater treatment facility was subject to an investigation conducted by the District Public Prosecutor in Białystok, who charged the Institute of Environmental Protection – National Research Institute (IEP-NRI) with the task to produce (based on the investigation acts) an expert opinion “on unlicensed disposal of municipal wastewater sludge under conditions which can threaten human life or health or significantly depress the quality of land surface or cause large scale damage to the environment, i.e. the deed provided for under Article 183 §1 of the Penal Code as well as other deeds”. The opinion was elaborated by Professor Jan Siuta, a head of the Land Protection Department at the IEP-NRI. The outline of his opinion was sent to the Minister of the Environment together with guidelines for necessary activities to be taken following the provisions of Article 96 §1 of the Waste Law of December 14, 2012 (Official Journal of 8 January 2013, item 21). The opinion notwithstanding, the Minister of the Environment was sent a critical commentary on the Appendix 1 to the order of the Minister of the Environment as of March 21, 2006 (Official Journal No 49, item 356) on waste types and conditions for their recycling in the R14 process. The commentary focused on the application of “furnace waste from carbon fired power plants to produce the so-called reclamation coating; the waste needs to be mixed 1 : 1 with dehydrated sludge and applied as maximally 1 m thick layer in the case of shrub planting and 2 m thick layer in the case of tree planting”. It should be added that in the latter case it is admitted to use as much as up to 10 000 tonnes of wastewater sludge per one ha. The Department of Waste Management replied in writing to both notes directed to Ministry of the Environment; voicing the statement that the enforced regulations do not need to be amended since they remain in conformity with Article 96.1 of the Waste Law of December 14, 2012 (Official Journal of 2013, item 21, with later amendments). In these circumstances it was decided to publish both notes directed to the Minister of the Environment (without comments on the contents) along with the reply from the Department of Waste Management.