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An investigation of agricultural use potential of wastewater sludges in Turkey - case of heavy metals

Landfilling is one of the most common methods that are used in the final disposal of sludge world wide, as well as in Turkey. However, increasing sludge quantities and limited landfilling areas make this method difficult to apply. The use of sludge in agriculture presents a possible alternative for disposal. However, it also poses some risks to be evaluated. In this respect, it is important to identify the heavy metal content of sewage sludges because of its adverse health effects. This study aims to determine the heavy metal contents of sludges and wastewaters from three different wastewater treatment plants in Turkey. The selection of plants was carried out according to the different treatment technologies applied to wastewater and sludge in those plants. Heavy metal analysis of sludges and wastewaters was conducted using a microwave assisted digestion procedure. After sampling and analysis, the results show that all the related metal concentrations are below the values that are set in the Soil Pollution Control Regulation of Turkey, However, in two of the three plants, Zn and Ni concentration should be tracked carefully.