From Sludge to Fertilizer - Cleaning up on Waste in Mongolia
Video | 21 April 2021
- Reuse of sewage sludge in Mongolia will help mitigate climate change impacts and reclaim mining sites.
- Pilot tests in Mongolia demonstrated that reuse of sewage sludge is technically feasible, financially profitable, and safe.
- ADB has partnered with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to develop processing and reusing sewage sludge in agriculture and land reclamation in Mongolia.
Drought, desertification, overgrazing, and mining are causing land degradation in Mongolia. ADB has partnered with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to develop and evaluate pathways for processing and reusing sewage sludge in agriculture and land reclamation.
Pilot results have proved that recycling of sludge to boost plant growth is technically feasible and safe. The composted sludge can be used for tree and grass planting and rehabilitation of mining affected lands. The production also can generate additional income for wastewater operators.
The innovative and viable solutions of sludge processing will be applied at nine ADB-funded wastewater treatment plants.
More than 121 million hectares of land is degraded nationwide and has lost its fertility.
A new process being researched will radically cut down on waste and help restore land fertility.
Enkhdul Tuuguu, Ph.D, Associate Professor of Department of Environment and Forestry Engineering, National University of Mongolia: “In recent years, we have been conducting different research on waste processing. In particular, we are currently doing research on producing fertilizer and briquettes out of the sludge from wastewater treatment plants, under ADB-funded technical assistance.”
Nordagwa Jalbuuchamba, General Engineer of Ar Us Undraga, Public Utility Service Organization: "Composted sludge is environmentally friendly, and no excess sludge is dumped directly into the soil. With earth being excavated a lot these days, there is an opportunity to use it for mining rehabilitation."
Enkhdul Tuuguu, Ph.D, Associate Professor of Department of Environment and Forestry Engineering, National University of Mongolia: "To extract fertilizer from the sludge, we mixed the sawdust, perlite and dehydrated sludge in a certain ratio and with aeration it composted with constant stirring and humidity . According to the test results, we produced a good quality compost with high organic, nitrogen and phosphorus contents that meet the Mongolian National Standard.
Oyungerel Shagjjav, Ph.D. Associate Professor of Biology Department, National University of Mongolia: “To determine the effects of the compost extracted from sludge on plant growth, we conducted experiments in the field and in the laboratory. The results of this experiment showed that the morphology and physiology of plants that used the compost were better than those that did not use the compost.”
Enkhdul Tuuguu, Ph.D, Associate Professor of Department of Environment and Forestry Engineering, National University of Mongolia: “If we can put the project results into practice, the sludge compost will not only improve the soil condition, but also it will solve widespread problems such as environmental pollution, odor pollution, and public hygiene. I am confident that this work will expand in the future and many more sewage treatment plants will be able to solve their sludge related problems by putting it into practice.”