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Stabilisation of wool scouring sludge by composting

Watson, B.J., Hofstede, H.T. and Cord-Ruwisch, R. (1994) Stabilisation of wool scouring sludge by composting. In: 2nd National Hazardous & Solid Waste Convention, 8 - 12 May, Melbourne, Australia pp. 630-636.

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Wool scouring sludge is the solid waste product of anaerobic treatment of wool scouring effluent. It has a high wool grease content (13- 16% of the dry weight, 45 -55% of the organic matter), resulting in a low melting point (approx.45°C). The low melting point, the putty-like physical properties and the odourous, unstable nature of the sludge makes it unsuitable for land application in its raw state. Composting of the sludge was investigated to ascertain its suitability as a treatment method for stabilising wool scouring sludge and improving its suitability as a soil amendment.

Composting was carried out in a computer controlled, laboratory scale, forced aeration, incubator system. Wool scouring sludge was rapidly compostable, reaching 47.1°C in 3 days. The temperature did not exceed 47.1°C. The mesophilicIthermophilic phase of the com posting process required 21 days. Composting reduced the grease content of the waste by 37%, with the result that the composted waste could not be melted. The compost resulted in greater plant yields of radish and wheat than the original sludge.

Item Type: Conference Paper
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School of Biological and Environmental Sciences
Publisher: Australian Water & Wastewater Association
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