MOROCOMP - Design and Application of an Innovative Composting Unit for the Effective Treatment of Sludge and other Biodegradable Organic Waste in Morocco
The project aimed to develop and establish an innovative composting system for the treatment of sludge generated by Urban Waste Water Treatment Plants (UWWTPs) and drinking water refineries and other biodegradable organic waste (BOW) in Morocco. This would enable the operators and national authorities to treat, control and use the sludge and other BOW effectively and in compliance with European environmental policy.
The project published a set of studies on the existing situation in Morocco regarding sewage sludge management and another report regarding the management of sludge in Europe and on an international level has also been produced.
The project designed an innovative aerobic sludge composting system, taking into account local characteristics, proven technologies, environmental impacts, minimal risk to public health, compliance with EU legislation, sustainable market for the end product, flexibility and use of materials of the region. The operation of the composting unit was optimised. Then, several sets of compost were produced and evaluated as soil improvers. Several phytotoxicity tests were therefore implemented to evaluate their effects of compost on seed germination and plant growth, in laboratory conditions. As well, open fields’ experiments carried out to examine the effects of compost applications to the quantity and quality on the yield of the selected cultivations and the effects of compost on the physicochemical characteristics of the soil. The results were positive: no phytotoxic compounds were found, and the yield was increased by the application of compost, even more than by the use of the fertilizer.
The market possibilities of the composting unit were also explored, firstly to assess the alternative uses of compost products and also to evaluate the market characteristics. It has been estimated that the need for organic matter such as the one produced by the pilot station amounts to approximately 6.25 millions of tons annually. This shows the potential market opportunity (although at present, the pilot station cannot produce sufficient material). Guidelines and specifications have also been developed concerning quality requirements.