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ESPP phosphorus eNews no 7
eNews n°7, February 2017, from the European Sustainable Phosphorus Platform (ESPP)

Regulation
EU Fertilisers Regulation revision
Discussions engaged on meat and bone meal ash recycling to fertiliser in Portugal
German sludge and P-recovery ordinance moves forward
Denmark limits farm phosphorus application
ESPP input to REACH regulation evaluation
Circular economy in priorities of EU Commission Work Programme
EU takes Germany to court over Nitrates Directive failures
EU Auditors say Commission fails to address food waste
Ammonium phosphatides considered safe in food
Projects
Impacts of phosphorus recovery on sewage sludge dewatering
UPM and Yara to develop recycled fertilisers
Nurec4org project for phosphorus recycling in organic farming
Ductor nitrogen and phosphorus recovery with Fraunhofer Umsicht
Denmark’s largest biogas plant yet
Science & media
Danone: towards a circular economy in food
Quick reference on phosphorus in the body
UK water industry priorities phosphorus and pharmaceuticals
Increased diet phosphorus improves pig immune system
 

Regulation

EU Fertilisers Regulation revision

The new EU Fertilisers Regulation, which will cover recycled nutrient products, composts, digestates, biostimulants, has been examined by Council (the 28 Member States) and will be discussed in relevant committees of the European Parliament in March – April (Council’s proposals are not yet published). Council apparently wants manures to be sanitised before input into composting or anaerobic digestion (AD): this would be prohibitive, and is not justified where composting or AD ensure sanitisation (animal by-products safety end-point). ESPP has met MEPs from the different European Parliament political groups and concerned Commissions (AGRI agriculture, IMCO internal market, ENVI environment). ESPP’s messages include proposing adding a requirement for traceability for all fertilisers susceptible to contain organic contaminants (from farm producing manure or factory producing by-products through to the farm where the fertiliser is used), facilitating innovation whilst ensuring safety for future inclusion of new recycled products into the regulation annexes, avoiding additional monitoring obligations or trace-element limits if these do not increase product safety, use of safe industry by-products, interactions with REACH (chemical legislation) and clarifying wording to improve regulatory workability and information of farmers. ESPP’s proposal to include traceability for organics is proposed by the ENVI Rapporteur, Elisabetta Gardini (EPP), amendment n°119. Now is the right time to contact your regional/national Members of the European Parliament and to ask for their engagement to support and improve this proposed new regulation, which will be a major step forward for nutrient recycling in Europe.
ESPP key positions and proposed amendments online at www.phosphorusplatform.eu/regulatory For further information see ESPP eNews n°4 and ESPP SCOPE Newsletter n°120. ENVI report and proposed amendments Elisabetta Gardini http://parltrack.euwiki.org/dossier/2016/0084(COD) download source: PE-597.640

Discussions engaged on meat and bone meal ash recycling to fertiliser in Portugal

The company ITS (Industria Transformadora de Subproductos Animais) based in Coruche, Portugal, ensures rendering of slaughterhouse wastes and dead animals (Animal By-Products (ABP) Categories 1 and 2), producing animal fat for biodiesel and meat and bones meal (MBM) for destruction. A rotating-kiln ensures the incineration of the MBM at 850°C, generating 2 500 tonnes/year bottom-ash, as well as thermal energy under the form of steam, which is used for the rendering process. The ash (Meat and Bone Meal Ash MMBA) contains >15% phosphorus (of which most is soluble in NAC neutral ammonium citrate), that is nearly 400 t/y of phosphorus (P), as well as 1% potassium and 0.75% magnesium, with low levels of heavy metals or other contaminants. Discussions are underway with the national authorities to define conditions for use of the MBA as a fertiliser in agriculture. ETSA is also looking for other ways to valorise the MMBA. It is estimated that animal by-products in Europe contain a total of around 310 000 t/y of phosphorus (see SCOPE Newsletter n°122) www.etsa.pt

German sludge and P-recovery ordinance moves forward

On 18th January, the new German new sewage sludge ordinance (AbfKlärV), which will make phosphorus recovery obligatory for most of Germany’s sewage, was validated by the German Cabinet (see ESPP eNews n°6). It is now expected to pass the parliament and Federal Council before summer 2017 and enter into force in January 2018, making phosphorus recovery obligatory for larger sewage works within 12 years (> 100 000 p.e.) or 15 years (> 50 000 p.e.), under certain conditions. P-recovery will thus be required for around 500 sewage works (out of a total of 9 300 in Germany), treating around 2/3 of German sewage. At present, around 26% of German sewage sludge is spread on arable land and this is expected to be cut by half as a consequence of this sewage sludge ordinance (AbfKlärV), and also of the new fertilising ordinance (DüV) which implements the nitrates directive and which will already strongly impact sludge valorisation in Germany next year.
Information provided by Christian Kabbe, KWB. Official press release in German:
http://www.bmub.bund.de/presse/pressemitteilungen/pm/artikel/deutschland-soll-phosphor-aus-klaerschlamm-gewinnen/?tx_ttnews%5BbackPid%5D=82 English translation of German sewage sludge ordinance (EU Notification 2016/514/D (Germany) http://ec.europa.eu/growth/tools-databases/tris/en/search/?trisaction=search.detail&year=2016&num=514

Denmark limits farm phosphorus application

New regulations in Denmark, expected to enter into force in August 2017, would for the first time, specifically limit phosphorus application by farmers (including manure, organic and mineral fertilisers). To date phosphorus has been only indirectly limited by manure spreading limits, based nitrogen content. A general ceiling of 30 - 43 kgP/ha (depending on the type of fertiliser) is expected to be applied across the country, but with a lower limit of 30 kgP in 2018, independent of fertiliser type, in lake catchments concerned by River Basin Management Plans. The Danish Society for Nature Conservation is however critical of the proposal, considering that in some areas and for the first years of implementation it would allow farmers to spread more manure than today. Denmark has some 13 million pigs and around one tenth of Denmark’s fields are today saturated with phosphorus in the top soil. Phosphorus saturation can be documented down to 1m depth some places, with 1-2 tonnes/ha of surplus phosphorus stocked. Media coverage notes that a key challenge is moving the surplus phosphorus from the livestock production region of Jutland (West) to arable areas of Zealand (East Denmark).
“Farming package will increase use of phosphorus”, Ingenioren, 13/1/2017 https://ing.dk/artikel/landbrugspakken-vil-oge-brugen-fosfor-191939 and “Denmark a major culprit in rapid consumption of world phosphorus resources”, Ingenioren, 13/1/2017 https://ing.dk/artikel/danmark-storsynder-vi-opbruger-verdens-fosfor-ressourcer-med-rasende-fart-191934

ESPP input to REACH regulation evaluation

ESPP has submitted input to the EU’s public consultation on the REFIT (assessment of fitness for purpose) of the EU Chemical Regulation 1907/2006 (“REACH”). ESPP considers the Regulation as having improved information about chemicals used in Europe, so contributing to public confidence and safety. ESPP’s specific comments noted that the exemption of digestate from REACH should be confirmed; underlined the importance for the nutrient circular economy of Art. 2(7)d which specifies that sites producing “recovered substances” (e.g. struvite recovered from wastewaters) do not have to register under REACH (subject to certain conditions) but noted that clarification is needed to ensure fair sharing of costs and administration for this disposition; and noted that adaptation of REACH should be considered to facilitate registration of recovered nutrient products covered by the EU Fertilisers Regulation (after revision is completed), subject to ensuring safety. REACH is complex to apply to variable or organic substances, such as many recycled nutrient products, and partly inappropriate because it is intended to address the substance, and not impurities, which will be specified in the Fertilisers Regulation.
ESPP input to EU REACH REFIT consultation www.phosphorusplatform.eu/regulatory and EU consultation page http://ec.europa.eu/growth/tools-databases/newsroom/cf/itemdetail.cfm?item_id=8952

Circular economy in priorities of EU Commission Work Programme

The third annual Work Programme of the Juncker Commission maintains the Circular Economy in its top priorities. The Action Plan for the Circular Economy is intended to deliver on Sustainable Development Goals, with a monitoring framework for the circular economy (Autumn 2017), a legislative proposal on quality requirements for water reuse, a REFIT revision of the Drinking Water Directive and a proposal to address the interactions between chemical, product and waste legislations.
“Juncker Commission presents third annual Work Programme: Delivering a Europe that protects, empowers and defends”, EU Commission press release 26/10/2016 http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_IP-16-3500_en.htm
 

EU takes Germany to court over Nitrates Directive failures

The European Commission has filed a 1500 page suit to the European Court of Justice against Germany for failure to adequately implement the Nitrates Directive. The Commission indicates that nitrate pollution is worsening in Germany’s ground and surface waters and in the Baltic Sea. The court action was announced in April 2016 and confirmed in November. The Commission suit indicates that Germany has failed to update its nitrates Action Programme, despite its 2012 implementation report showing that the programme is inadequate to achieve environmental objectives. The Commission indicates that crop fertilisation requirements allow a surplus of 60 kgN/ha/year, application of up to 230 kgN/ha/year is allowed on some grasslands, that some Land’s manure storage capacity requirements are insufficient and that restrictions on application on sloping land, near watercourses and on frozen land are inadequate.
Extracts of EU Commission suit to European Court of Justice, Executive Summary in German: https://netzfrauen.org/2016/11/08/gefaehrliche-guelle-eu-kom-verklagt-deutschland-wegen-verletzung-der-eu-nitrat-richtlinie-deutschland-hat-ein-nitratproblem/  “EU takes Germany to court over high nitrate levels” EurActiv 7/11/2016 https://www.euractiv.com/section/agriculture-food/news/eu-takes-germany-to-court-over-high-nitrate-levels/ “Water: Commission refers Germany to the Court of Justice of the EU over water pollution caused by nitrates”, EU press release 28/4/2016 http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_IP-16-1453_en.htm

EU Auditors say Commission fails to address food waste

The European Court of Auditors, in a special report on combating food waste, says that the Commission’s “ambition has decreased over time” and that action taken “has been fragmented and intermittent”. The report calls for an “agreed definition of food waste and an agreed baseline, from which to target reductions”, better Commission coordination and development of an action plan, integration of food waste reduction into policies such as the Common Agricultural Policy, and to facilitate donation of food which would otherwise be wasted. The Commission launched in 2016 a food waste Platform to bring together EU bodies, experts, NGOs and food-chain actors. Some 88 million tonnes of food goes to waste annually in the EU, expected to rise to 126 million tonnes by 2030 unless action is taken.
“Speech by Commissioner Vytenis Andriukaitis at the launch meeting of the "EU Platform on Food Losses and Food Waste" 29/11/2016 http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_SPEECH-16-4093_en.htm and EU Court of Auditors Special Report 2016-34 “Combating Food Waste: an opportunity for the EU to improve the resource-efficiency of the food supply chain” http://www.eca.europa.eu/Lists/ECADocuments/SR16_34/SR_FOOD_WASTE_EN.pdf

Ammonium phosphatides considered safe in food

EFSA (European Food Safety Agency) has re-evaluated ammonium phosphatides (E422) for safety as a food additive.  Ammonium phosphatides are molecules consisting of ammonium phosphate with one or two attached mono- or di-glycerides. They are produced by reacting phosphate and ammonium with glycerides, either synthetic or from vegetable oils, and are used as an emulsifier and stabiliser in a range of foods, including chocolate, yoghurts, soft cheese and other dairy products, coffee, cakes and biscuits. EFSA examined a significant number of animal studies of the substance. These indicate that (in rodents) 70-82% is not absorbed (found in faeces) and that most of the absorbed phosphate is incorporated rapidly into bone, muscle or the liver. Studies show low oral toxicity and no cancer, reproductive or developmental effects. EFSA concludes that use as a food additive does not raise safety concerns and that the current ADI (acceptable daily intake) does not require modification.
“Re-evaluation of ammonium phosphatides (E422) as a food additive”, EFSA Scientific Opinion adopted 27/9/2016, EFSA Journal 2016, 14(11), 4597 https://www.efsa.europa.eu/en/efsajournal/pub/4597

Projects

Impacts of phosphorus recovery on sewage sludge dewatering

The US water industry research organisation WERF has launched a 24 month project to investigate how P-recovery, anaerobic sludge digestion and biological phosphorus removal impact sewage sludge dewatering. The organisation indicates that sludge handling can represent 50% of total municipal wastewater treatment costs, with dewatering and polymer use in dewatering representing a significant part of sludge handling costs. WERF note that anaerobic sludge digestion in biological P-removal sewage works can result in significant dewatering problems and high costs, and that there is a lack of agreed knowledge on how P-recovery processes can impact this. The project with Bucknell University will include fundamental laboratory research into flocculation of bio-P digested sludges and field research particularly looking at P-recovery. WERF also has a second project to assess how P-recovery or biological P-removal can be integrated into low-energy, low-carbon nitrogen-removal processes. If you have information on this question, please contact ESPP.
WE&RF 2016: “Unintended Consequences Of Resource Recovery On Overall Plant Performance: Solving The Impacts On Dewaterability Properties (NTRY12R16)”, http://www.werf.org/c/PressReleases/2016/Unintended_Consequences_of_Resource_Recovery_on_Overall_Plant_Performance.aspx and “Water Environment Research Foundation Seeks Proposals for 2 Studies on the Impacts of Resource Recovery on Wastewater Treatment Processes” http://www.werf.org/c/PressReleases/2015/WERF_Seeks_Proposals_for_2_Studies_on_Impacts_of_Resource_Recovery_on_Wastewater_Treatment_Processes.aspx

UPM and Yara to develop recycled fertilisers

UPM (paper, biorefining and forest biomass group with 10 billion €/y turnover and production in 13 countries worldwide) and Yara (Finland phosphate rock mining and fertiliser production group) have obtained funding for 2017-2018 from Raki2, the Finland Environment Ministry nutrient recycling programme, to develop an agricultural fertiliser product from pulp and paper mill wastewater treatment sludge and sludge incineration ash. UPM’s different factories produce around 400 000 t/y of sludge including both primary sludges with a high fibre content and secondary sludges consisting mainly of bacterial biomass. The project aims to develop fertiliser and soil improver products with nutrient availability corresponding to crop needs, including balancing nutrients by combining with mineral fertilisers, so reducing risks of soil nutrient leaching and losses.
“Enhancing the utilisation degree of sludge by improving fuel value and mapping out new applications”, UPM stakeholder magazine Biofore 10/11/2016 https://www.upmbiofore.com/enhancing-the-utilisation-degree-of-sludge-by-improving-fuel-value-and-mapping-out-new-applications/ and UPM press release 10/11/2016 “UPM and Yara to co-develop recycled fertilisers” http://www.upm.com/About-us/Newsroom/Releases/Pages/UPM-and-Yara-to-co-develop-recycled-fertilisers-001-Thu-10-Nov-2016-10-03.aspx

Nurec4org project for phosphorus recycling in organic farming

The 2-year Nurec4org project launched in 2017 will support the uptake of recycled nutrient products in organic farming in Germany. It is led by Kompetenzzentrum Wasser Berlin (KWB) and Bioland (Germany’s biggest organic farmers’ association) and funded by DBU, Germany’s largest environmental foundation. Actions will include studying the market potential for recycled phosphorus products in organic farming and potential supply availability, looking at acceptance criteria for organic farmers and consumers, testing agronomic value and evaluation environment, health and life cycle factors. The objective is to provide both evidence and stakeholder consensus to support regulatory acceptance of recycled phosphates in organic agriculture.
 Contact:

Ductor nitrogen and phosphorus recovery with Fraunhofer Umsicht

A pilot installation (80 m3 fermenter) has started operation in Tuorla, Finland, and will treat 1 400 t/y of poultry manure. A 10 000 t/y chicken manure input installation started is planned in Haren, Germany, in 2016 (see ESPP eNews n°3). The Ductor technology recovers up to 60% of nitrogen (by ammonia stripping and then ammonium sulphate production) upstream of anaerobic digestion (biogas production). The digestate can be processed to a solid organic phosphate fertiliser from the digestate. Fraunhofer Umsicht will work with Ductor to evaluate the performance of the Ductor technology, including the impact on biogas production.
“Revolutionary technology by Ductor® commissioned in Tuorla, Finland”, 20/12/2016 http://www.ductor.com/revolutionary-technology-ductor-commissioned-tuorla-finland/

Denmark’s largest biogas plant yet

The biogas plant to be built near Koskro, Southern Jutland, Denmark’s most intensive livestock production region, will take over 700 000 t/y of input organic wastes, mainly cattle manure, and produce 22 million m3/y of biogas. The project brings together the Nature Energy biogas company and Sydvestjysk, a cooperative of around 100 famers. The plant benefits from exemplary architectural and landscaping design by Gottlieb Palludan.
EBA (European Biogas Association) news http://european-biogas.eu/2016/11/28/denmark-countries-largest-biogas-plant-under-construction/ and “Nature Energy og Sydvestjysk Biogas klar til rekordstort biogasanlæg ved Korskro” 11/11/2016 https://www.natureenergy.dk/corporate/presse/nyheder/spadestik_korskro

Science & media

Danone: towards a circular economy in food

Global food company, Danone, has announced a three-year partnership with the Ellen MacArthur Foundation to embed circular economy principles inside the company and to promote them widely. Danone aims for systemic change to preserve natural resources and to move to a more circular value chain. In 2016, Danone was awarded the Environment Top Performance prize by the ESG (Environmental and Social Governance) ratings agency Vigeo, top of 1 300 companies assessed. The company already has circular economy projects addressing nutrients, such as recycling acid whey by-products from yoghurt production to animal feeds, fertiliser and energy.
“Toward a circular economy in food”, Emmanuel Faber, CEO of Danone http://downtoearth.danone.com/2016/02/29/toward-a-circular-economy-in-food/

Quick reference on phosphorus in the body

A convenient summary of phosphorus biology data is provided in two pages of text plus tables, including a summary of biological functions of phosphorus, data on body P uptake and regulation, an overview of hyper- and hypophosphatemia and useful conversion indicators (mg/l – mmol – mEq/l). Note that this is a veterinary journal and some of the data (e.g. normal serum P levels) for dogs and cats may not be the same for humans.
“A Quick Reference on Phosphorus”, A. Allen-Durrance, Vet Clin Small Anim, 2016 http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.cvsm.2016.09.003

UK water industry priorities phosphorus and pharmaceuticals

CIP2, the UK water industry’s second Chemicals Investigation Programme (coordinated by UKWIR) is a major research and monitoring investment. The project is running from 2015 to 2020 with an estimated cost of UK£140 million for chemicals, with a priority on pharmaceuticals, and UK£50 million for phosphates. Some 600 sewage works are being sampled for 74 chemicals. AquaStrategy reports that interim results from 160 sites show a Water Framework Directive compliance risk at ≥90% of sites for five substances (three fluorinated / PFOS chemicals1, PAH2 and phosphorus as SRP3). Twenty of the 74 chemicals being studied are pharmaceuticals4. For a number of pharmaceuticals5, the interim results suggest that levels in sewage works discharge water would pose a potential risk in rivers. CIP2 also includes testing nearly 20 different technologies to reduce phosphorus discharges and 10 technologies to remove pharmaceuticals, a challenge being to find solutions which eliminate the pharmaceutical molecule rather than simply adsorbing it. AquaStrategy note that Switzerland has moved forward on pharmaceutical treatment in sewage works through a 9 CHF/year/person tax. In January 2017, a coalition of 14 NGOs called on the European Commission to take action to reduce pharmaceutical pollution of water, as is required by Directive 2013/39/EU (priority substances in water), which fixed a deadline of September 2015, deadline which has been missed. The NGO’s letter also points to pharmaceuticals in manure and soil.
1: perfluorooctane sulfonic acid and perfluorooctanoic acid. 2: indicator benzo(a)pyrene. 3: soluble reactive phosphorus. 4: including the 6 pharmaceuticals which are on the Water Framework Directive priority substance ‘Watch List’: diclofenac, estradiol (E2), ethinyl estradiol (EE2), erythromycin, clarithromycin, and azithromycin. 5: diclofenac, propranolol, clarithromycin, erythromycin, EE2, rantidine and azithromycin. “Early insights from the UK's groundbreaking sewage assessment”, AquaStrategy October 2016 https://www.aquastrategy.com/article/early-insights-uks-groundbreaking-sewage-assessment “The European Commission must fulfil their obligation to reduce pharmaceutical pollution”, NGOs’ position and letter Health Care Without Harm 19/1/2017 https://noharm-europe.org/articles/press-release/europe/european-commission-must-fulfil-their-obligation-reduce-pharmaceutical

Increased diet phosphorus improves pig immune system

A PhD thesis looks at the effects of dietary calcium phosphate levels and of fermentables on the immune system and on gut bacteria of pigs. Following a literature study, two consecutive full scale tests were carried out on 31 pigs fed for 9 weeks with a corn-soybean (higher level of fermentables) then a corn-pea diet, with for each test, groups of high and low calcium phosphate (4 or 7 %Pdm). Higher calcium phosphate and higher fermentables both led to healthier gut and lower potentially harmful gut bacteria. The higher calcium phosphate diets generally showed higher levels of positive immune function indicators. Further research is recommended concerning variations of phosphorus availability (digestibility) and the formation of different inositol phosphates.
“Impact of dietary phosphorus and fermentable substrates on the immune system and the intestinal microbiota of the pig”, C. Heyer, PhD in Agricultural Science, University of Hohenheim Germany, 2016 http://opus.uni-hohenheim.de/volltexte/2016/1301/pdf/Dissertation_Charlotte_Heyer.pdf#page=27
 

Events

13-15 March 2017, Tampa, Florida, Phosphates 2017 http://www.crugroup.com/events/phosphates/
 
Save the date 11 or 12 April, Paris, COMIFER / ESPP P recycling in agriculture (in French)

8-10 May 2017, Ben Guérir, Morocco, SYMPHOS - Innovation and Technology in the Phosphate Industry http://www.symphos.com/index.php

 
19 May 2017, Washington DC, North America Sustainable Phosphorus Alliance (SPA) stakeholder meeting https://sustainablep.asu.edu/about

12-14 June 2017, Fort Lauderdale, Florida, WEF Nutrient Symposium http://www.wef.org/Nutrients/ 

21-23 June 2017, Belfast, Ireland sustainable P meeting https://phosphorusie.wordpress.com/

3-5 July 2017, Paris, PBSi 2017 P, B & Si http://premc.org/conferences/pbsi-phosphorus-boron-silicon/

4-5 July, Manchester, UK, BIG Phosphorus conference http://www.aquaenviro.co.uk/events/conferences/

5-9 August, New York, IWA Resource Recovery conference www.irrc2017.org  
 

 



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Following the legislative developments in Switzerland and Germany, Austria is now also opting for madatory P recovery from municipal sewage sludge. The draft Federal Waste Plan 2017 (Bundes-Abfallwirtschaftsplan) includes a ban of direct land application or composting for sewage sludge generated at Wastewater Treatment Plants with capacities of 20,000 p.e. or above within a transition phase of 10 yeras. (see chapter 7.5 in the waste plan part 1, link below). Alternatively, these WWTP will have to recover the P from sludge onsite targeting P contents below 20 g P / kg dry solids or have to deliver their sludge to sludge mono-incinerators. The P is then to be reovered from the sewage sludge ashes obtained. This regulation will cover 90% of the P contained in the Austrian municipal wastewater.

Link to Austrian Ministry of the Environment and draft waste plan:
https://www.bmlfuw.gv.at/greentec/bundes-abfallwirtschaftsplan/BAWP2017.html

On January 18th, the new sewage sludge ordinance has passed the German cabinet. It is supposed to pass the parliament and Federal Council of Germany before summer. Intended dates are 31 March for the parliament and 12 May for the council. After more than 10 years of revision and heated debates, the new draft of the German sewage sludge ordinance was sent by the Federal Ministry of Environment (BMUB) to the European Commission (EC) for notification at September 26th 2016. The notification to EC is a typical procedure for new Member State regulations according to directive 2015/1535/EU. The EC has approved without remarks by 27 Dec 2016. The content cannot be changed afterwards except for minor adaptions.

Once approved by both chambers, the new sewage sludge ordinance may enter into force by 1st January 2018. This step will make phosphorus (P) recovery from sewage sludge obligatory for all German wastewater treatment plants (WWTP) larger than 50,000 person equivalents (p.e.), equal to ~500 WWTP out of ~9300 WWTP. They will have to recover the phosphorus if the sludge contains more than 2% phosphorus /DS (dry solids) or have to incinerate the sludge in mono-incinerators. Land application of sludge will only be allowed for WWTP < 50,000 p.e. These ~500 WWTP represent roughly 66% of the total phosphorus removed from German wastewater and transferred into the sludge.

The WWTP above 100,000 p.e. will have to fulfill the new phosphorus recovery requirements by 2029, after a 12 years transition period. The WWTP of 50,000 to 100,000 p.e. get three additional years for implementation. All effected WWTP have to develop phosphorus recovery concepts by 2023.

Currently, 26% of sewage sludge is spread on arable land. This fraction is expected to half as a consequence of the new fertilising ordinance (DüV) and sewage sludge ordinance (AbfKlärV) entering into force. The fertilising ordinance is the German implementation of the nitrates directive and will strongly affect sludge disposal and valorisation in Germany already next year.

Official press release in German:
http://www.bmub.bund.de/presse/pressemitteilungen/pm/artikel/deutschland-soll-phosphor-aus-klaerschlamm-gewinnen/?tx_ttnews%5BbackPid%5D=82

Newsletter about nutrient stewardship - European Sustainable Phosphorus Platform (ESPP).

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Link to www.phosphorusplatform.eu/eNews6

Success story
Thermal hydrolysis biogas and fertiliser from food waste, Oslo
Regulation and policy
EU to further restrict dental mercury
Circular Economy standard proposed
Netherlands approves Circular Economy 2050 strategy
France, Spain face European Court actions for failure to treat sewage
German proposed sludge ordinance in English
Germany ammonia emissions taken to court
Policy for the circular economy
Germany UBA proposes reduced VAT on resource efficient products
Regulatory barriers to circular economy wealth creation
Report confirms potential of tax shift from labour to consumption
Media
ICL Fertilisers: the world must consume less raw materials
Aqua Strategy: P recovery update
Toilet Board Coalition: Circular Economy could accelerate global sanitation
Science
Healthy diet, diet P and food sustainability
Phosphorus losses from mains water leakages
Phosphorus recovery potential, Sofia, Bulgaria
Risk assessment and fertiliser regulations
Cost assessment of struvite recovery from digestate

 

Success story

Thermal hydrolysis biogas and fertiliser from food waste, Oslo

The Romerike Biogas Plant (RBA) operated by the Oslo urban authority since 2012, produces over 100 000 t/y fertiliser from food waste digestate.  The plant takes in separately sorted and collected household food waste and commercial and industry food waste. It includes optical and mechanical sorting (magnetic separator, bio-separator, sieve, sifters) , shredding, thermos hydrolysis (THP) at 130°C – 4 bars to  render organics better available for digestion, then biogas production (anaerobic digestion at 38°C for c. 24 days). Biogas is compressed and used to fuel the city’s buses (1 kg food waste gives 0.13 l diesel equivalent). The digestate is solid liquid separated and distributed as liquid fertiliser (90 000 t/y of N10 P2 K6 at c. 4.5% DM or 15% after concentration) and solid fertiliser (15 000 t/y at 28% DM).
Nils Finn Lumholdt, City of Oslo: “AD in Oslo- Production of Liquid Biomethane from Sorted Household Waste”, AD Europe 2014 https://asiakas.kotisivukone.com/files/biolaitosyhdistys.palvelee.fi/23__nils_finn_lumholdt.pdf and “Green Energy from Waste” DAKOFA 24/8/2016 http://www.mita.lt/uploads/documents/food_waste_recycling.pdf

Regulation and policy

EU to further restrict dental mercury

The EU has agreed a text to ban mercury in dental amalgam for children under 15, pregnant and breastfeeding women. This will enable continuing reductions in mercury levels in sewage sludge, of which amalgam is the largest source, because of daily wear of mercury amalgam in people’s teeth. This is significant for safe nutrient reuse through biosolids spreading or through P-recovery. The text has been agreed by the three EU institutions (Commission, Parliament, Council of Member States). It also requires Member States to set a national plant for reducing amalgam and for the Commission to report (by 2020) on the feasibility of a complete phase out of mercury amalgam by 2030. Environmental NGO European Environment Bureau (EEB) welcomed the agreement as placing Europe as a world leader in implementation of the 2013 Minamata International Convention on mercury, but regretted that the complete ban on mercury amalgam is not yet confirmed. The European water industry EurEau has also taken position for a ban on mercury amalgam, considering that mercury separators at dental clinics only partly reduce mercury losses. EurEau estimate that dental mercury going to sewage from teeth reduces by 20% the part of sewage biosolids which can be recycled to farmland, thus resulting in an annual additional cost of around 128 million € per year (EU) for incineration costs, as well as additional CO2 emissions due to the use of fossil fuels to support sludge incineration.
EurEau position 13/6/2016: http://eureauwaternews.tumblr.com/post/151926522998/eureau-welcomes-european-parliament-vote-on-dental EEB position 8/12/2016http://www.eeb.org/index.cfm/news-events/news/eeb-welcomes-strengthening-of-eu-mercury-laws/

Circular Economy standard proposed

The British Standards Institute (BSI) has published online for comment a draft standard for implementing the circular economy in organisations, the first such standard to be proposed. For the purpose of this standard, the following definition of Circular Economy is proposed “systemic approach to the design of business models, enabling the sustainable management of resources in products and services”. The introduction notes that unprecedented uncertainty is expected over coming decades, implying price volatility for raw materials, and proposes the circular economy as a systemic approach to business redesign to address this. Relations between circular economy, resource efficiency, zero waste, bioeconomy and lean thinking are discussed. The proposed standard includes a detailed section of definitions, an approach to optimising value creation through circularity, an overview of circular economy business models and implementation tools including an eight-stage framework and a needs-based navigation tool.
British Standards Institute draft “Framework for implementing the principles of the circular economy in organizations – Guide” BS8001 https://drafts.bsigroup.com/Home/Details/59265

Netherlands approves Circular Economy 2050 strategy

On 5th October, The Netherlands national Circular Economy programme to 2050 was presented to Parliament. The programme fixes an interim objective of 50% reduction in raw materials use (minerals, metals, fossil fuels) by 2030, and an objective of 100% sustainable, non polluting use of raw materials by 2050. ‘Biomass and food’ is one of the five priority areas identified in the programme. Under this priority, the programme indicates commitment to the Netherlands Nutrient Platform and to European action through ESPP (European Sustainable Phosphorus Platform). Actions specified to address the ‘Biomass and food’ priority include reducing food waste, sustainable agri- food- and biomass value chains, development of alternative protein sources, recycling of food industry residues, soil quality and increasing soil carbon, precision farming and closing the loop for nutrients.
“A Circular Economy in the Netherlands by 2050” Government-wide Programme for a Circular Economy, Netherlands Minister for Environment and Minister for Economic Affairs, 72 pages, launched 14th September 2016 https://www.government.nl/documents/policy-notes/2016/09/14/a-circular-economy-in-the-netherlands-by-2050

France, Spain face European Court actions for failure to treat sewage

France has been condemned by the European Court of Justice for failure to adequately treat sewage (absence of secondary treatment) for 11 small agglomerations with 2 000 to 15 000 person equivalents. These 11 towns are those for which sewage was still not being adequately treated at the date of the European Commission’s legal procedure (8 of these are since considered to be treated by the Commission), out of some 551 agglomerations initially cited by the European Commission’s action launched against France in 2009. The Commission has also engaged European Court of Justice (ECJ) proceedings against Spain for failure to implement adequate waste water treatment in 17 cities (1.4 million population in total), out of 37 for which Spain was already condemned by the ECJ in 2011. This concerns failure to ensure secondary treatment sufficient to avoid risks to health from pollution of water bodies. The Commission is requesting a 46.5 million € fine on Spain, plus 171 000 € daily fine until conformity is ensured.
Judgement of the European Court of Justice, 23rd November 2016, failure of France to implement the Urban Waste Water Directive 91/271/CEE Art. 4, paragraphs 1 & 3, secondary treatment or equivalent http://curia.europa.eu/juris/document/document.jsf?text=&docid=185543&pageIndex=0&doclang=FR&mode=req&dir=&occ=first&part=1&cid=2213788 European Commission “November infringements package: key decisions” 17th November 2016 “SPAIN faces fines for not complying with judgment from 2011 over poor waste water collection and treatment” http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_MEMO-16-3644_en.htm

German proposed sludge ordinance in English

As indicated in ESPP eNews n°5, Germany has notified to Europe its proposed new sewage sludge ordinance (AbfKlärV), which will make phosphorus recovery obligatory for most of Germany’s sewage. The text has now been translated and is published by the EC in English. The proposal, which is expected to enter into force in 2018, will ban land use of sewage sludge from all sewage works > 50 000 p.e. (over 100 000 p.e. if the sludge has <2%P DM) and will update and harmonise contaminant limits, monitoring obligations and procedures (including quality assurance) where sludge is used in agriculture. For larger sewage works, phosphorus recovery will be obligatory (11 years after entry into force) wherever sludge contains >2% phosphorus (dry matter DM) and in this case at least 50% of the P must be recovered (and sludge P reduced to <2%)* if operating in the sewage works, or at least 80% of the P from incineration ash or other carbon residues (see p75). Implementation of the proposed ordinance is expected to cost 94-119 million €/year.
* ESPP note: if this wording is not modified this will effectively exclude struvite recovery as currently implemented. This could be resolved by changing “and” to “or” here.
European Commission Notification Detail Ordinance reorganising sewage sludge recovery (Sewage Sludge Ordinance)
Notification Number: 2016/514/D (Germany)
http://ec.europa.eu/growth/tools-databases/tris/en/search/?trisaction=search.detail&year=2016&num=514

Germany ammonia emissions taken to court

Two environmental NGOs (ClientEarth and Deutsche Umwelthilfe) have engaged a court case against the state of Germany (at Cologne administrative court) for failure to respect Germany’s ammonia emissions limit under the revised National Emissions Ceilings Directive which entered into force on 31st December 2016. This requires Germany to reduce its ammonia emissions by 5% by 2020 and 29% by 2030 (vs. 2005 levels). The NGOs state that Germany has exceeded its 2010 target under the previous NECD Directive by 17-22% from 2010 – 2015 and that its national air pollution plans as defined at present will not ensure compliance with the new NECD. Ammonia air pollution generates fine particles in the atmosphere and particulate air pollution is estimated to cause nearly 50 000 premature deaths per year in Germany. Over 90% of ammonia emissions come from agriculture, in particular manure management, so that pressure to reduce emissions will incite to nitrogen recovery installation.
“Legal action against German government for ammonia breaches”, ClientEarth, 4th January 2017 http://www.clientearth.org/legal-action-german-government-ammonia-breaches/

Policy for the circular economy

Germany UBA proposes reduced VAT on resource efficient products

The German environment agency UBA has proposed that EU tax regulations should be modified to allow reduced-rate VAT (Value Added Tax) on resource efficient products, as well on services such as repairs. Modification to EU VAT rules requires unanimous decision of all Member States. UBA has also called for binding environmental and social standards throughout the value chain with mandatory certification. UBA also proposes specifying minimum recycled product contents in certain products.
“Resource-efficient products should be cheaper” http://www.umweltbundesamt.de/en/press/pressinformation/resource-efficient-products-should-be-cheaper Umwelbundesamt Germany 11th November 2016 and resources report www.umweltbundesamt.de/resourcesreport2016

Regulatory barriers to circular economy wealth creation

In a report for the European Commission (DG GROW), 10 case studies are presented where removing regulatory barriers could facilitate development of the circular economy, including two relevant to nutrients: nutrient recycling from manure and food waste in the hospitality sector. For food waste, VAT regulations tax food donations and strict Member State implementation of the 2004 EU Regulation on Food Hygiene result in throwing food away. Regulation and VAT changes could result in savings of 4 billion €/year for the hospitality sector. For manure nutrients, the report identifies five regulatory barriers to recycling:

  • EU Fertilisers Regulation does not at present cover organic fertilisers (NOTE: this is being addressed through the EU Fertiliser Regulation revision)
  • The Animal By-Products Regulation does not take into account the sanitisation ensured by various manure processing methods (NOTE: this should be addressed by the EU Fertilisers Regulation revision, but is not at present
  • Waste Framework Directive labels anaerobic digestion as “recovery” (energy production) instead of recycling (NOTE: so “forgetting” the nutrient value of digestate and the potential for nitrogen recovery by ammonia stripping)
  • Absence of End-of-Waste criteria for manure derived products (NOTE: as above, this should be addressed by the EU Fertiliser Regulation revision)
  • REACH (EU chemical regulation) application to manure derivatives (for which this Regulation may not be adapted)

Other non-regulatory barriers to manure nutrient recycling identified by the report are:

  • Benefits of organic fertilisers not recognised
  • Inconsistent quality of manure derived products
  • Manure processing is more expensive than field spreading or than mineral fertilisers
  • Legal uncertainty around manure processing discourages investments

The report estimates that if 20% of EU manure is currently wasted, rather than being reused in agriculture, then this represents a loss of over 1.1 billion €/year for phosphorus and nitrogen fertiliser value. The report also notes that manure processing is labour intensive, with a “reasonable” job creation potential of 200 000 full-time equivalents across the EU.
Technolopolis, Wuppertal Institute, Thinkstep and Fraunhofer ISI” Regulatory barriers for the Circular Economy. Lessons from ten case studies”13th July 2016 http://ec.europa.eu/DocsRoom/documents/19742 and European Commission DG GROW website http://ec.europa.eu/growth/tools-databases/newsroom/cf/itemdetail.cfm?item_id=8986&lang=en&tpa_id=1040

Report confirms potential of tax shift from labour to consumption

A new report for the Ex’tax project, by Cambridge Econometrics, Deloitte, EY, KPMG and Price Waterhouse shows that transferring tax burden from labour to consumption would increase GDP by +2% and employment by +3% in Europe, and deliver 5 – 9% reductions in energy use, water use and carbon emissions. At present, around 50% of Europe’s national tax revenues come from taxation of labour, compared to just 6% from taxes on resources and consumption. The Ex’tax proposal shifts taxation from the payroll (social contributions and income tax), to carbon, water and electricity (bulk users not households), and possibly also other green taxes on e.g. metals and minerals, travel and traffic, waste, building materials, air pollution emissions, toxic chemicals, plastics, biodiversity, as well as a small increase in VAT (but zero VAT for maintenance and repair) with tax credits for job creation and for circular economy innovation.
“New era. New plan. Europe. A fiscal strategy for an inclusive, circular economy”, published 15/12/2016, Ex’tax project 2016 http://www.neweranewplan.com/

Media

ICL Fertilisers: the world must consume less raw materials

In an interview published with Springer Professional, Kees Langeveld, vice president of business development of the international chemical company Israel Chemicals Ltd. (ICL) explains that phosphorus recycling is part of the company’s engagement for environmental and social change, and the circular economy, and also contributes to maintaining ICL’s production factories in The Netherlands and Germany. As well as ICL’s use of struvite in fertiliser production, Mr Langeveld cites ICL’s project, using the RecoPhos technology, to recover elemental P4 (white phosphorus, a key raw material for flame retardants, lubricants, and other applications) from sewage sludge ash, and production of phosphoric acid using ashes and hydrochloric acid.
Springer Professional “Less raw materials must be extracted”, 12th January 2017 https://www.springerprofessional.de/recycling/nachhaltigkeit/-weniger-neue-rohstoffe-muessen-gewonnen-werden-/11926228

Aqua Strategy: P recovery update

The water sector professional magazine Aqua Strategy published in its December issue a summary of current developments in phosphorus recycling technology installation worldwide, covering current installations and underway projects using technologies of Ostara (Pearl), NuReSys, Colsen (Anphos), Véolia (Struvia) and Mephrec (Nuremburg pilot). More detailed presentations of Outotec’s work to develop a recovered calcined phosphate product (improved AshDec process) adapted to farmers needs, and of the Budenheim ExtraPhos process (P extraction from sewage sludge at ambient temperature using CO2, Mainz-Mombach pilot).
“Aqua Strategy review: Process progress with sewage phosphate recovery” cover story, December 2016 https://www.aquastrategy.com/article/aqua-strategy-review-process-progress-sewage-phosphate-recovery and feature article “Budenheim pilots its process to meet German wastewater phosphate recovery requirements” https://www.aquastrategy.com/article/budenheim-pilots-its-process-meet-german-wastewater-phosphate-recovery-requirements

Toilet Board Coalition: Circular Economy could accelerate global sanitation

The Toilet Board Coalition, a platform of hygiene brand companies, NGOs and development organisations, has published a study concluding that the circular economy could speed up implementation of global sanitation. The study concludes that valorising resources derived from toilet wastewater can create a self-sustaining sanitation business, accelerating sanitation investment, reducing need for public funding and creating business opportunities for both multinationals and innovative SMEs – but not without risk. Resources recoverable from toilets are identified as (today) energy, agricultural products [compost, organic fertilisers and soil conditioners], water and (potentially) innovative products/raw materials and health data. Challenges to address are seen as contaminants and pathogens (safety), public perception (“yuk factor”), smell, security/ quality of supply, maintenance, development of new products, fit with existing instruments and operators and failure to monetarise externalities.
“Sanitation in the Circular Economy” Transformation to a commercially valuable, self-sustaining, biological system, November 2016 https://www.fastcoexist.com/3066577/applying-the-circular-economy-to-toilets-could-speed-up-global-sanitation

Science

Healthy diet, diet P and food sustainability

A systematic review (Nelson et al. 2016) identified 23 studies relating diet quality to environmental impact (for developed countries). Analysis of this data concludes that dietary patterns which are higher in plant-based foods and lower in animal-based (especially red meat) and lower in energy content, are both healthier and have a lower environmental impact. Meier & Christen 2013 is the only study cited as specifically addressing phosphorus, showing lower P use with healthier, more plant-based diets. Another study (Peltner & Thiele 2017) looks at nutrients in the Healthy Eating Index – 2010 concluding that densities (nutrient content/energy content) of nutrients (P, Ca, K, Mg, Fe and others) are higher in the high quality diet (67 mgP/100 kcal) than the low quality diet (53  mgP).
“Alignment of Healthy Dietary Patterns and Environmental Sustainability: A Systematic Review” M. Nelson et al., Adv Nutr 2016, 7 1005–25, http://dx.doi.org/10.3945/an.116.012567
“Association between the Healthy Eating Index-2010 and nutrient and energy densities of German households’ food purchases”, J. Peltner & S. Thiele, European J.  Public Health, 2017,
http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/eurpub/ckw247

Phosphorus losses from mains water leakages

A new study suggests that phosphorus losses from mains (drinking) water leakages is nearly one quarter of P discharged from sewage works in the Thames river catchment, England. The study estimates phosphorus losses from mains water pipes at 90 tP/y, compared to 380 tP/y from sewage works and 560 tP/y from agriculture. Phosphates are dosed to drinking water in the UK to prevent lead and copper dissolving into water and posing health problems – this is not the case in most of the rest of Europe. A previous study (Ascott et al. 2016, summarised in SCOPE Newsletter n°119) estimated phosphorus leakage out of mains water supply pipes at 1 200 tP/y, total England and Wales, of which around 70% into surface waters.
“Mainswater leakage: Implications for phosphorus source apportionment and policy responses in catchments”, D. Gooddy, M. Ascott et al., Science of the Total Environment 2016 http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2016.11.038

Phosphorus recovery potential, Sofia, Bulgaria

Phosphorus recycling potential of Sofia, Bulgaria, waste water treatment plant is assessed. This is Bulgaria’s biggest sewage works, serving a population of over 1.3 million (14% of Bulgaria’s sewage), p.e. not specified. Bulgaria’s 2014-2020 National Sludge Management Strategy anticipates an increase in sewage sludge production to nearly 125 000 tonnes DM per year, with upgrading of sewage works to respect EU water legislation. Currently around half of Bulgaria’s sludge goes to landfill or temporary storage, both of which must be stopped, and the remainder farmland or soil restoration. Phosphorus in the Sofia sewage works inflow is c. 2.9 mgPtotal/l and 0.9 mgPtotal/l in discharge. The authors estimate that around 70% of inflow phosphorus could thus potentially be recovered from either sludge or sludge incineration ash, that is 170-250 tP/year.
“Phosphorus recovery potential in Sofia WWTP in view of the national sludge management strategy, I. Ribarova et al., Resources, Conservation and Recycling 116 (2017) 152–159 http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.resconrec.2016.10.003

Risk assessment and fertiliser regulations

A first-approach risk assessment is presented of contaminants in mineral fertilisers and a number of possible recycled nutrient products (including sewage sludge, recovered struvite and sewage sludge ash derived products), covering risk to humans (food via crops, farmers), to soil organisms and to surface water. It is concluded that cadmium and zinc may be of concern for some endpoints: possible cadmium risk to surface waters on acidic soil, zinc risk to soil organisms from sewage sludges or sludge incineration ash products. Chromium and copper may also potentially be significant contaminants, comparative to atmospheric deposition, in some recycled fertiliser products. Struvite shows the lowest contaminant levels and no identified risks. For the persistent organic contaminants considered (dioxins, poly aromatic hydrocarbons) recycled nutrient product input is low compared to atmospheric deposition and does not contribute significantly to risk. Risk to humans are considered low for all fertiliser materials considered (levels higher than PNEC Predicted No Effect Concentration).
“Risk Assessment and Fertilizer regulation – A valuation with respect to recycled phosphorus materials from wastewater”, F. Kraus, C. Kabbe, W. Seis, Berlin 17 Nov. 2016, paper prepared within the EU-FP7 Project P-REX and updated in 2016. http://p-rex.eu/uploads/media/Kraus__Kabbe__Seis._Risk_Assessment_and_Fertilizer_regulation_-_A_valuation_with_respect_to_recycled_phosphorus_materials_from_wastewater..pdf An enhanced version with better consideration of these uncertainties and a quantitative sensitivity analysis is planned for mid-2018

Cost assessment of struvite recovery from digestate

COWI, at the Nordic Phosphorus Conference, October 2016, presented a preliminary study of costs of possible struvite recovery from a biogas plant treating sewage sludge and sorted household organic wastes (OFMSW). The Grodaland biogas plant, Norway, currently being built, will treat 89 000 t/y of municipal sewage sludge and 41 000 t/y OFMSW, that is a total of nearly 23 000 t/y dry solid content. Cost estimates, based on different struvite process supplier technologies, ranged from 13 to 18 €/kgP recovered. Cost differences were not considered pronounced, but costs for struvite recovery were around half of costs for evaporation processes (but these could also recover nitrogen and potassium). Possible operation cost savings resulting from phosphorus recovery were not considered.
Line Blytt, COWI, “Solutions and costs for public facilities, example from an evaluation of technologies for nutrient recovery at Grødaland biogas plant in Rogaland, Norway” https://dakofa.com/fileadmin/user_upload/1100_Line_Blytt_Danielsen_COWI.pdf


 

Events

Updated events listing online at http://www.phosphorusplatform.eu/events/upcoming-events



 

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The presentations of the ESPP conference on Phosphorus stewardship in industrial applications (01-12-2016) are now online under Downloads and below. The report of the conference is published as a SCOPE newsletter No. 123 article "Phosphorus in the chemicals industry".

The ESPP General Assembly 2016 was followed by a thematic meeting looking at innovation and sustainability in industrial uses of phosphorus. 60 participants, mainly from industry, but also from R&D and the European Commission, explored the wide range of industries in which phosphorus chemicals are essential, including fire safety, energy storage, electronics, medical applications, catalysts, lubricants. Several companies including Clariant, ICL, Magpie Polymers, Italmatch, Prayon, ProPHOS and Remondis, presented company actions to make phosphorus chemistry processes more sustainable. For example, their success stories cover the recycling of phosphorus from sewage sludge and from spent fire extinguishers, and to develop phosphorus chemicals with improved health, safety and sustainability profiles.

Opening: Janez Potocnik - Co-chair of the UNEP International Resource Panel and previous EU Environment Commissioner
Phosphorus: global resources perspective
Willem Schipper – Willem Schipper Consulting
Phosphorus in industry and society
Carl Szöcs – Prayon
Phosphorus recycling initiatives in a multi-sector P company
Chris Slootweg - SUSPHOS network
Circular phosphorus chemistry and knowledge transfer from one sector to another (chemistry, agriculture, industry)
Steve van Zutphen - Magpie Polymers
Metal Scavenging: using low-value phosphorus materials to make metal refining more sustainable
Alexander Maurer - ICL Fertilizers
The RECOPHOS-Process P4 from Sewage Sludge Ashes
Andreas Rak and Martin Lebek - Remondis
Clean technology for P-recycling to phosphoric acid: REMONDIS TetraPhos®
Marco Michelotti and William Grandi - ProPHOS Chemicals
Innovative solution for phosphate recovery from exhausted extinguishing powders (PhoSave Horizon2020 project)
Wolfgang Wanzke – sustainability manager Clariant
Sustainability in the Phosphorus Value Chain: P-based flame retardants and fire retarded plastics
Maria Cristina Pasi - Italmatch Chemicals, Coordinator of the TRIALKYL LIFE project
Reducing the impact of P chemistry
Tomas Turecki – European Commission DG RTD
Industry innovation and phosphorus sustainability in FP7 & H2020
Solon Mias - EU Executive Agency for Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (EASME)
LIFE Environment Water

Report and presentations are now online for the ESPP workshop Pharmaceuticals in sewage biosolids (27/10/2016). The main workshop conclusions are:

  • Incineration of sewage sludge can be an appropriate solution depending on local conditions (e.g. contaminated sludge, lack of agricultural space for spreading …) but is lower down the recycling hierarchy (energy “recovery” not recycling). Even if phosphorus is recovered from ash (to produce fertiliser or for industry applications), organic carbon, nitrogen, potassium, sulphur and micro-nutrients are lost.
  • Concerns about sludge contaminants must be taken seriously and addressed both by developing data and information to support risk assessments, and by taking upstream actions wherever possible to reduce contamination of sewage sludge. For industrial chemicals and consumer chemicals, this is possible by actions targeting users and households (reduce discharge to sewers), but for pharmaceuticals it is much more difficult.
  • Public exposure risk to organic contaminants via sewage sludge should be put into context of exposure from other routes (both the same and other organic contaminants via direct contact and in household dust, air, water). However, this does not absolve the need to address sewage sludge use in agriculture in order to inform farmers, the food industry, consumers and decision makers.
  • Veterinary pharmaceuticals and hormones are also present at significant levels in manures, and this should also be addressed, both by reductions at source where possible, and by monitoring and treatment where manure nutrients are recycled.
  • There still a need for more data regarding fate of organic contaminants, including pharmaceuticals in sewage sludge. There is more data on heavy metals, and more data on organic contaminants in water (sewage works discharge, rivers, drinking water) than in biosolids. The question is multi-faceted: contaminants in biosolids, fate in sewage treatment and in sludge treatment processes, in soils, in crops, both short and medium term presence and impacts.
  • Pharmaceuticals and other organic chemicals in sewage sludge are varied and complex, and cannot be considered as a single issue. Of the wide number of molecules, new pharmaceuticals and chemicals, breakdown products, which to monitor? Further data and understanding is needed to try to identify different families of substances which have similar behaviour, but without over-simplifying.
  • Pharmaceuticals and hormones are important challenges, because of the inherent obstacles to upstream reductions, both in sewage sludge and in animal manures.
  • More immediately however, industrial and household chemicals require monitoring and action, in particular:
    • PFOS (perfluorooctane sulfonate) and other perfluorinated chemicals, e.g. from Teflon
    • triclosan and triclocarban
    • brominated flame retardants and substitute chemicals
    • dioxins
    • PAH (poly aromatic hydrocarbons)
  • Composting is generally effective for removing many, but not all pharmaceuticals. Female hormones however are largely not degraded.
  • Removal of organic contaminants in sewage treatment systems is very variable and difficult to predict, depending on contaminant molecule chemistry, sludge properties, dewatering, treatment conditions.
  • Anaerobic digestion can break down some pharmaceuticals, but further work is needed to better understand how to improve this, including looking at sludge disintegration upstream of digesters (e.g. Cambi, Haarslev, Biothely). Further work is needed on degradation metabolites to verify if these pose issues.
  • There is potential to develop new sludge treatment process chains in order to improve pharmaceuticals removal, e.g. treatments upstream of anaerobic digestion, or modification of conditions in digesters and in the sewage works biological treatment cycles
  • Female hormones are often not degraded in sludge treatment, but this may be not of environmental or health significance. Manures either spread or going directly to soils from animals in the field often contains significant levels of such hormones.
  • Antibiotic resistance is a globally important health issue, and should be better studied for sewage biosolids application. Knowledge shows that soils can naturally adapt, because soil organisms naturally release antibiotics, so that antibiotic resistance appearing after sludge application seems to be only temporary.
  • Several studies confirm that movement of organic contaminants to groundwater is very low from sewage sludge land application. This is unsurprising, as the contaminants found in sludges are those which tend to partition to solids, and not to water.
  • Data is needed to develop robust risk assessments of agricultural use of sewage biosolids, and also of manures, taking into account fate of and possible impacts of pharmaceuticals in sewage treatment processes, sludge treatment, in soil and possibly in crops and for grazing livestock. This cannot be feasibly done for the large number of pharmaceutical molecules and other organic contaminants, so screening is needed to identify priority substances.

European Sustainable Phosphorus Platform (ESPP) General Assembly focussing on Phosphorus stewardship in industrial applications will be held on Thursday 1st December, Brussels within the First EU Raw Materials Week. Success stories and innovation in P stewardship in industry will be presented and areas for possible research or value-chain collaboration will be identified.

The general programme of the day is as follows, more details in the programme:
8h30 – 10h30    ESPP General Assembly (open to non-members): accounts, election of Board, actions underway and action plan priorities for 2017
10h30   Coffee break
11h00 -17h30    Phosphorus stewardship in industrial applications

Participants: ESPP members and network - waste, water, chemicals, fertiliser industries, policy makers, knowledge centres.
To participate: registration obligatory

After more than 10 years of revision, the new draft of the German sewage sludge ordinance (AbfKlärV), which will make phosphorus recovery obligatory for most of Germany’s sewage, has been sent by the Federal Ministry of Environment (BMUB) to the European Commission for notification at September 26th 2016. This notification is the standard procedure for new member state regulations (directive 2015/1535/EU). Once approved by EC, the content cannot be changed afterwards except for minor adaptions. During notification, there is a three months stand-still agreement.

The next steps after notification will be cabinet resolution within the German Federal government in January 2017 and presentation for enactment to the Federal Council of Germany and the Parliament in spring 2017. The new ordinance may thus enter into force with a date 1st January 2018.

The ordinance will make phosphorus recovery from sewage sludge obligatory for all German sewage works larger than 50,000 person equivalents (p.e.), that is, around 500 out of a total of c. 9 300 sewage works in Germany. These 500 larger sewage works represent around 2/3 of the total phosphorus removed from German wastewater and transferred into sludge.

For these larger sewage works, phosphorus recovery will be obligatory if the sludge contains more than 2% phosphorus (dry solids), either by P-recovery from the sludge or by mono-incineration and recovery from sewage sludge incineration ash. If P < 2%, then co-incineration will be authorized. Land application of sludge will only be allowed for sewage works < 50,000 p.e. Currently 29% of German sewage sludge is spread on farmland, and will have to respect the quality criteria of the new German fertilizing ordinance (DüV). The entry into force of these two new ordinances (AbfKlärV and DüV). Is expected to be cut by half the amount of sewage sludge going to farmland.

The new fertilizing ordinance is the German implementation of the EU Nitrates Directive and will already dramatically impact sewage sludge use in Germany in 2017.

Article by Christian Kabbe (former P-REX).
See also: http://www.bmub.bund.de/themen/wasser-abfall-boden/abfallwirtschaft/wasser-abfallwirtschaft-download/artikel/abfklaerv-klaerschlammverordnung

After compost, PVC and non-ferrous metals from bottom ash, struvite will be the fourth secondary resource to be addressed within the International Green Deal North Sea Resources Roundabout (NSRR). Struvite is a specific mineral form of magnesium ammonium phosphate recovered from waste water. A working group of French and Dutch public and private sector experts has its first meeting in the Dutch embassy in Paris on October 7. The case, initiated by Suez, Veolia, Reststoffenunie and Waternet, will focused on the perceived barriers relating to the use of struvite in crystal form. It will specifically explore ways to facilitate the export of struvite recovered from municipal wastewater plants as a raw material for the purpose of producing fertiliser. The initiators hope that this case will be a first step towards creating a European market for struvite.

Full press release here.
More details and a video about the Green Deal North Sea Resources Roundabout.
Parlimament Magezine article about the Green Deal.

The European Economic and Social Committee has adopted its ‘Opinion’ on the EU Fertilisers Regulation revision. EESC supports the objective of extending the existing regulation from only mineral fertilisers (at present) to cover organic and waste based fertilisers, subject to ensuring environmental protection, underlining that recycled fertilisers “may in the future constitute an important part of an integrated circular economy” (recalling the EESC Opinion on the Circular Economy jobs and SMEs, 2014). The need to clarify definitions of a “secondary raw material”, waste, by-products, end-of-waste are underlined, pointing to the contradictions in the current text between application to PFCs and CMCs [$4.2 of EESC Opinion]. EESC wants systems of control, labelling (present in the proposed text) and [$1.3] traceability (not present). EESC underlines [$1.9, $4.5] that municipal waste water has potential and value as a raw material for organic fertiliser – whereas this is excluded in the current regulation proposal. EESC also notes [$4.8] the need to exempt from REACH recovered materials beyond compost (EESP comment: e.g. digestate see www.phosphorusplatform.eu/regulatory) .

Opinion of the EESC on the EU Fertilisers Regulation Revision, adopted 13-14 July 2016, refs. NAT/691 – EESC-2016-03054-00-01-AC-TRA (EN) 1/8, rapporteur Cillian Lohan www.eesc.europa.eu/?i=portal.en.nat-opinions.39587

The programme  is now online for the ESPP workshop on “Pharmaceuticals and organic chemicals in sewage biosolids: questions for recycling”, Malmö (near Copenhagen) 27th October 8h00 – 12h00, in cooperation with the Nordic Phosphorus Conference, 27th October (12h00) – 28th 13h30 (same venue).
See for more details and registration here.

ESPP’s 2016 General Assembly will take place Brussels, 1st December 2016 (9h – 17h), looking at phosphorus in industry: sustainability, recycling, new applications and processes, P4 and phosphorus chemicals. Tis is within the EU’s First Raw Materials Week parallel to ESPP’s general Assembly, the thematic meeting will enable industry and stakeholder dialogue on developments such as: new uses and applications for phosphorus in industry and energy, P-recovery from waste streams to industrial chemicals and P4, recycling of phosphorus in industry through other routes (e.g. fire safety chemicals, plastics), reducing environmental impact of P chemistry, challenges and opportunities around medical and industry applications nano forms of phosphates.

The EU’s “Expert Group for Technical Advice on Organic Production” (EGTOP) has published its response to two dossiers proposing authorisation of recycled phosphate products as fertilisers in organic agriculture (under EU Organic Farming Regulation 889/2008). The dossier for struvite was submitted by the UK in 2014 and concerns struvite (magnesium ammonium phosphate) recovered in sewage works or from animal waste processing. The dossier for calcined phosphates was submitted by Austria in 2011 and concerns recovery from ashes of sewage sludge, meat and bone meal (MBM), or other biomass ash. The committee concludes that for Ostara Pearl struvite (the submitted dossier) there is no hygiene risk (organic pollutants or pathogens), but that this is not proven for other struvite production methods. Struvite recovery is noted to be conform to environmental objectives (reduces N and P losses to surface waters, recycles nutrients, reduces consumption of non-renewable P resources) and concludes that struvite should be authorised for organic farming “provided that the method of production ensures hygienic and pollutant safety”. For calcined phosphates, the committee also concludes that recovery from ashes is conform to environmental objectives (but with some concerns about energy consumption) and that calcined phosphates should be authorised for organic farming subject to being recovered from sewage sludge incineration ash and that heavy metal content should be limited (proposal: chromium(VI) non detectable, other heavy metals “minimised”). However, EGTOP also concludes that these two products cannot be authorised under the Organic Farming Regulation until they are authorised under the EU Fertilisers Regulation, so confirming the importance of the ‘STRUBIAS’ process underway to integrate such products into the current revision of this Regulation.

Expert Group for Technical Advice on Organic Production (EGTOP) “Final Report on Organic Fertilizers And Soil Conditioners (II)”, final version 2 February 2016

A meeting was organised by CEN (the European Standardisation Committee) and CENELEC (electrical equipment) on 'Standards for circular economy: waste management and secondary raw materials' in Brussels 8th September. Of around 100 participants, ESPP and the paper industry were maybe the only representatives of the bio-nutrient and bio-materials sector. Yet, the need for standards development to support nutrient recycling and valorisation of bio-waste streams was made clear. Some of the day’s conclusions are strongly applicable to the nutrient circular economy: need to standardise terminology and definitions, including how to measure the recycling rate, importance of public information (e.g. traceability) to develop trust; potential of EN standards to open markets for export; quality standards for input materials, processes and recycled (nutrient) products; benchmarking to indicate for what uses a recycled product is appropriate. The meeting registered that a number of initiatives are underway or expected: EC mandates to CEN for standards development to support the Fertilisers Regulation revision and the EU Circular Economy Package, interface work to identify gaps and incoherence between fertiliser regulations, REACH, waste regulation; BS 8001 proposed standard “Framework for circular economy principles”. This meeting aims to launch a CEN informal process for dialogue on on standards for the circular economy, waste and secondary materials, in which ESPP will actively participate.

Historical SCOPE newsletters about phosphorus and nutrient management are now online on the ESPP website and can be downloaded here.

With the opening of its « Technophos » Centre of Excellence and Technology in Varna, Bulgaria, the Belgian group EcoPhos consolidates its pioneering role in the area of phosphates and phosphorus recycling. For more details see this information, the website and the live stream of the opening.

Do you have an innovative idea related to manure processing? Join the competition and win the Ivan Tolpe Award. More details and the website.

Phosphates 2017 530 115

13 - 15 March, Tampa, Florida, USA.

The only global event for the fertilizer, industrial and feed phosphate markets. 

http://www.crugroup.com/events/phosphates

Best practice models from the Nordic countries and Europe, challenges of P recovery and recycling, quality standards and developing secondary markets with the Nordic Council of Ministers, the EU Commission, EPAs of the Nordic Countries, companies and local authorities. Oganized by Swedish Waste Management, Norwegian Waste Management and Recycling Association, and DAKOFA Waste and Resource Network Denmark and is supported by the Nordic Council of Ministers in cooperation with the Nordic country national water industry federations.

Programme and registration https://dakofa.com/conference/conference

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/events/1004884832892874

ESPP is organising a workshop on “Pharmaceuticals and organic chemicals in sewage biosolids: questions for recycling”, Malmö (near Copenhagen) 27th October 8h00 – 12h00, in cooperation with the Nordic Phosphorus Conference, 27th October (12h00) – 28th 13h30 (same venue). The workshop will look at which pharmaceuticals and organic consumer chemicals are found in sewage biosolids, at what concentrations, effects of composting, anaerobic digestion, whether there is a risk to health and the environment when treated biosolids are used in agriculture, how levels can be reduced and what further data and research is needed.

See programme for more details. If you are interested in presenting (speaker or poster) please contact with a short summary of your proposed presentation.

Nordic Phosphorus Conference, 27th October (12h00) – 28th 13h30
Programme and registration https://dakofa.com/conference/conference
Facebook https://www.facebook.com/events/1004884832892874

Registration via the Nordic Phosphorus Conference website, or contact ESPP ()
Participation: 75 Euros (free for Nordic Phosphorus Conference participants)

ENRD (European Network for Rural Development, funded by the European Commission DG Agriculture) is calling for participants for a Thematic Group on “Resource efficient rural economy”. Deadline for candidates is 27th August 2016. Registration here. More information here.

The George Barley Water Price launched. Everglades teams with Ontario for 11.2 million US$ nutrient removal and recovery challenge. Opening of the challenge is expected before mid- July with first submission deadline end summer 2016, then several rolling submission deadlines.

The Everglades Foundation Grand Challenge for new approaches to remove recycle phosphorus from dilute waters (rivers, drainage ditches, lakes) has now partnered with the Ontario Ministry of Environment and Climate Change and Xylem, to offer a total of 11.2 million US$ prizes. For more information, see summary of Everglades Grand Challenge in SCOPE Newsletter n°111.

A new website has been launched and submission application documents will be online at the challenge opening, expected early before mid-July. To be informed and pre-register, create your user profile: www.barleyprize.com

“Everglades Foundation Announces The George Barley Science Prize Competition at White House Event Today”
http://www.evergladesfoundation.org/2015/10/07/everglades-foundation-announces-the-george-barley-science-prize-competition-at-white-house-event-today

Summary of the ESPP working meeting on the EU Fertiliser Regulation revision, held Brussels 29 June 2016, can be downloaded here. Presentation by the European Commission and other stakeholders are included as annexes. Background information of the workshop can be found here. See also other inputs of ESPP to the Fertiliser regulation revision process in the Regulatory Activity section.

The ESPP eNews no2 July 2016 can be read here with short communications related to nutrient management.

The ESPP eNews no1 June 2016 can be read here with short communications related to nutrient management.

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