Water Environment Federation                        


Volume 11, Number 2 • March/April 2006    

                      Sludge Technology Manual Gets a Makeover

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) National Risk Management Research Laboratory is
revising the publication Process Design Manual for Sludge Treatment and Disposal (EPA/625/1-79-011) and soliciting
help in updating it.

"We're looking at a document that is 26 years old," said James Smith, a senior environmental engineer who is
heading up the project. Smith also is chair of EPA' Pathogen Equivalency Committee. With all of the information that has
been published since the first manual was printed, " is impossible to find a body of knowledge in one place," he added.

The new manual will provide the latest design information on all applicable technologies available for treatment,
use, and disposal of municipal wastewater solids, including grit, scum, screenings, primary sludges, biological
sludges, chemical sludges, and septage. Smith specifically mentioned different methods of digestion and stabilization,
public participation, and odors as topics that the new manual should include.

Smith said the project is cost-prohibitive for EPA to tackle alone. Thus, EPA is working toward an agreement with
the Water Environment Federation (WEF®; Alexandria, Va.) and Water Environment Research Foundation (WERF®;
Alexandria, Va.) and their memberships to collaborate on the project.

Representatives from the three groups met in November to discuss how best to approach the project. From that
meeting, the groups established that a project advisory committee comprising EPA, WEF, and WERF will be formed
to oversee the project. Additionally, a project manager will be contracted to manage the organization of the project,

Smith said. At press time, the three organizations were still negotiating the fine details of the arrangement.
Smith said he believes that the arrangement will include WEF taking ownership of the updated manual as
well as rights to produce and sell the information. EPA will be granted a limited license to publish enough copies to
supply its headquarters personnel, regional offices, and the regional solids coordinator in each state, he said.

Smith said he hopes
WEF will maintain the manual as a living document after the updated document is initially

The original manual contained 19 chapters, was 88 mm (3.5 in.) thick and 1132 pages long, and required considerable
resources to prepare, according to the agency. Updating such a massive volume could take some time.

Smith said that, optimistically, the project will take about 2 years to complete. " think probably as you go through
the document, you' going to see lots of material [that] needs updating," Smith added. At press time, he said a request
for proposals regarding the contractor position should be ready to publish sometime in January. Until a project
coordinator is selected, those interested in volunteering as authors or reviewers should contact Smith at smith.
[email protected].
— Steve Spicer, BTB