Proper Transportation and Handling of Biosolids

When biosolids or sewage sludge is moved from one point to another whether for treatment, storage, or disposal, proper transportation and handling of biosolids must be observed. This material can be a source of disease-causing microorganisms which can potentially have disastrous consequences for the community, therefore a lot of care must be observed. There is also the concern of the foul odours that it emits, and this must also be addressed.

Fortunately, there are protocols in place and modern technologies that can be used to ensure safe and proper transportation and handling of biosolids

When moving biosolids to the storage site, it is important that appropriate vehicles are used for the type of materials being transported. For dewatered or dried biosolids for example, trucks must be covered and have rubber sealed rear gates. In addition, drivers should be briefed on haul routes. It is imperative that they have a copy of a spill response plan. This plan describes emergency responses and clean-up methods in the event of a spill and accident. Spills pose a potential road hazard, hence a written spill response must be kept in each haul vehicle and at project offices. Drivers need to know and comply with any local road use requirements or restrictions.

Appropriate measures should also be observed prior to biosolids deliveries. For example, stockpile areas should be clearly marked, and signs or flags should be placed conspicuously for truck drivers to determine where to drive and unload biosolids.

Permanent storage facilities must be large enough for trucks to maneuver and pull-off from staging areas. This will avoid queuing of vehicles on the shoulder of public roads while waiting to be loaded or unloaded. With regards to landscape or horticultural uses where Class A biosolids will be combined with other materials, their storage areas must be located near other amendments. This will minimize the time required to collect and blend potting and landscaping mixtures.

To prevent any leakage, liquid tankers and trailers used for semisolid biosolids should have seals around all the hatches and tailgates that can be mechanically tightened. Another practice that must be followed is inspecting the seal integrity on all vehicles. This must be done at the beginning of each day. After loading, each truck must be checked for leakage prior to operating them on public roadways.

Several methods should be followed to prevent mud or biosolids tracks from being formed on public roadways. Vehicles transporting biosolids should always be cleaned prior to leaving the Wastewater Treatment Plant (WWTP). The use of concrete or asphalt off-loading pads at the storage facility will help keep the equipment clean.  It is advisable that every storage facility have provisions for cleaning trucks and equipment.

To prevent biosolids getting on tires or the undercarriage, mud flaps must be used on the back of dump trailers. Another solution to avoid the formation of soil ruts and tracking of mud onto roads is to install a temporary gravel access at the entrance and exit area.

If you are a municipality in Ontario and in need of a biosolids management solution, please feel free to contact us on 1 (877) 479-1388.


Proper Transportation and Handling of Biosolids
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