Vermicomposting of sewage sludge

Marta BOŻYM* – Faculty of Mechanical Engineering, Opole University of Technology, Opole, Poland
Please cite as: CHEMIK 2016, 70, 10, 616–619

The term “vermicomposting” or “vermiculture” refers to the use of earthworms for composting organic matter from sewage sludge and the latest biotechnology which helps in giving biofertilizers in the term of “vermicompost”. In the first half of the twentieth century the vermicomposting process of agricultural waste were started the Americans. In Poland, vermicompost manure produced since 1980. Since the 90s of the twentieth century vermicomposting apply to the treatment of sewage sludge. A pioneer in this field was a sewage treatment plant in Pyrzyce, which began producing vermicompost for agricultural purposes [1]. Vermicomposting process is conducted in special stations using Eisenia fetida earthworms species. Vermicomposting of sewage sludge is carried out in several stages. Sewage sludge is applied in thin layers alternating with green waste (straw, hay). So it is not necessary to discharge composting mass to aeration. The most important during vermiculture is suitably selected fodder composition, constant moisture and regular feeding earthworms. Vermicomposting usually carried out from April to October. Vermicompost from sewage sludge quality depends on the substrate composition, contamination content and treatments [2–3]. Earthworms build corridors and thus it is possible aerating composting mass, otherwise it is crushed and mixed organic matter, which increases the rate of sewage sludge mineralization. The effect of vermicomposting of sewage sludge is to improve their structure, reducing odors, dehydration, weight reduction, increases the content of available forms of macronutrients [2–5]. Whereas a side effect is to reduce the content of organic carbon and nitrogen and to increase the content of heavy metals [1, 6–7]. Vermicomposting sludge can be used as fertilizer and for the remediation of degraded soils [1, 6–8].

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