Composting is considered an effective treatment option to eliminate or substantially reduce potential hazards relating to the recycling of sewage sludge (SS) on land. The variation of four major types of hazards (heavy metals, instability, pathogenic potential and antibiotic resistance) was studied during laboratory-scale composting of two mixtures of sludge and green waste (1:1 and 1:2 v
). The heavy metal content of the final compost was governed by the initial contamination of SS, with the bulking agent ratio having practically no effect. The composts would meet the heavy metal standards of the United States of America (USA) and the European Union member states, but would fail the most stringent of them. A higher ratio of bulking agent led to a higher stabilisation rate, nitrogen retention and final degree of stability. A good level of sanitisation was achieved for both mixtures, despite the relatively low temperatures attained in the laboratory system. The antibiotic resistance was limited among the E. coli
strains examined, but its occurrence was more frequent among the Enterococcus
spp. strains. The type of antibiotics against which resistance was mainly detected indicates that this might not be acquired, thus, not posing a serious epidemiological risk through the land application of the SS derived composts.
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