National Sludge Managment Strategy
Status of Task
Result 3 is the development of a national sludge management strategy. In respect of this the following tasks from the ToR have been completed:
- 1, Summarise the legal and institutional framework for sludge management.
- 2, Assess sludge generation, quality and management at existing waste-water treatment plants (WWTPs) and evaluate sludge production estimates and management strategies prepared for the WWTPs currently in planning and under construction.
- 3, Assess methods of sludge treatment, use and disposal employed in other Member States for their suitability in Albania.
The results and conclusions from this work were compiled into a preliminary report (12th November 2022) and delivered to AKUM.
Further work on Result 3 is now conditional upon approval of the Result 1 report (see above).
Legal and institutional assessment
Two particularly critical weaknesses of the present system have been identified:
- Current legislation in force in Albania does not require the development of a dedicated strategy document on sludge. Therefore, if it is the intention that a National Sludge Management Strategy should be legally binding in whole or in part, the legal basis for this would need to be enacted. This needs to be given priority because the handling of sewage sludge is a necessary aspect of implementation planning for the UWWTD and in particular for Article 14 thereof.
- Regulation, permitting and enforcement are very weak. This needs to be addressed as a priority, in order to give EU negotiators confidence that Albania is capable of regulating properly the handling of sewage sludge and reporting reliably to the EU on implementation progress.
Status of sludge management in Albania
The preliminary report covers the following aspects of sludge management:
- status of waste-water treatment capacities and services;
- status of sludge generation and disposal.
It concludes that at present there is no regular recording of either the quantities or disposal routes for sludge in Albania. The preliminary assessments given in the report are presently being refined on the basis of the information contained in the Result 1 report (see above).
Case studies of sludge management in the EU and other Balkan countries
This section of the preliminary report provides a brief review of sludge management solutions (treatment and use/disposal) for small, medium and large-sized WWTPs focusing on successful (and unsuccessful) approaches adopted in the Balkans region. The intention is that this should be taken into consideration when deciding what may or may not be applicable to the varied conditions in Albania.
One notable conclusion is that none of the solid waste incinerators presently in use, under construction or planned in Albania would be suitable (for technological reasons) for the co-incineration of sewage sludge.