Water UK EventsBiosolids Assurance Scheme

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Water UK facilitated two seminars in late 2013 for experts from a wide range of sectors including farming, food and drink producers, retailers, government and regulators, to consider progress towards an assurance scheme for biosolids (treated sewage sludge) use in agriculture.

Developing a universal assurance scheme

Simon Black, Anglian Water and consultant Doug Grieve are developing the initiative in consultation with all water and sewerage companies and key stakeholders. Current legislative and non-legislative controls for sewage sludge management are referred to in several documents, making it difficult for third parties to establish the level of assurance they require. The initiative will bring together all the current controls to create a single transparent assurance scheme standard that is subject to independent inspection. It is intended that the scheme will have a similar structure to other schemes for agricultural inputs and outputs and will therefore be familiar to food chain stakeholders.

Please find the presentations from the London and Edinburgh seminars here.

Best practice

Sewage sludge has been recycled to agricultural land for more than 50 years, during which time the practice has been increasingly regulated to protect both human and animal health as well as the environment. In addition, important changes in treatment technologies have provided significant quality improvements, and various non-statutory best practice agreements are now well established across the biosolids industry.

The water industry recognises the importance of ensuring food safety 'from farm to fork' and hopes that incorporating the comprehensive controls on biosolids as an agricultural input into one assurance scheme should help to support this objective. Clearly there is a requirement for sewage sludge derived products to be safe to use and pose no threat, whether real or perceived, to the food chain, consumers and the environment.

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