Benaraby Landfill.
Benaraby Landfill. David Sparkes

Biosolids: Turning trash into treasure

A VICTORIAN company has been chosen by Gladstone Regional Council to complete one of the region's most unenviable tasks.

Epsom Environmental Services was awarded a contract in excess of half a million dollars to complete sludge dewatering and transportation services from next month.

Not a glamorous job by any means, the company will remove sludge from wasting ponds and transport to landfill for disposal.

Economic benefits were evident for council when awarding EES the $505,805 contract.

The company, based at Epsom near Bendigo, was chosen to complete the work ahead of Hervey Bay company Conhur and Gatton-based Arkwood Organic Recycling.

Epsom's quote was 27 per cent cheaper than Arkwood and 40.7 per cent better off than Conhur's.


Arkwood Organic Recycling workers spread biosolids on crops for farmers.Contributed
Arkwood Organic Recycling workers spread biosolids on crops for farmers.Contributed Contributed

EES will base staff in Gladstone while work is undertaken, providing economic flows with accommodation and spending.

It's anticipated the maintenance work program will take 16-20 weeks to complete.

Sludge is the by-product of the wastewater treatment process and a mixture of water and solids.

Over a 12-month period as part of council's water and waste water treatment process, sludge builds up in the wasting ponds and needs to be removed to increase wasting capacity.

Build-up starts when biological microorganisms can no longer actively break down wastewater.

The excess sludge will be transported to Benaraby Landfill for disposal as council's Blain Dr site isn't suitable.

Council is currently exploring the option of allowing the public to re-use the sludge for agricultural purposes.

When the sludge is dried it's referred to as biosolids which can be used as a soil enricher, although additional treatment is required to condition it for this use.

Gladstone Councillor PJ Sobhanian raised the idea as to whether the sludge could be reused by ratepayers.

"Essentially the sludge can be used in agriculture... If we can re-use it that's a great thing because we're not creating waste, it's converting waste to product, which is a green initiative and is good for the environment," he said.

"Potentially it could be economically beneficial as well."

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