Budenheim pilots its process to meet German wastewater phosphate recovery requirements

Aqua Strategy review


Germany is set to introduce legislation next year to require the recovery of phosphate from municipal wastewater, and the ExtraPhos process from phosphate chemical company Budenheim is emerging as one of the country’s promising technology options in this area. Keith Hayward provides an update on progress.

Dr Rainer Schnee, Budenheim
Dr Rainer Schnee (© Chemische Fabrik Budenheim KG)

Concerns regarding the contaminants present in sewage sludge have driven tightening controls on its direct use as an agricultural fertiliser in Germany. National controls on the metals lead, cadmium, nickel and mercury already in place prior to 2015, for example, were strengthened further that year.

Most sewage sludge in Germany is now incinerated, with similar quantities going to sewage sludge mono-incineration and to co-incineration. Around one third is still applied to agricultural land, but that figure can be expected to decline, according to Dr Rainer Schnee of chemical company Budenheim.

The potential agricultural value of the nutrients in municipal wastewater is recognised however and has prompted the country to prepare national legislation to drive the recovery of the phosphorus content currently removed from wastewater and entering the sludge stream.

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  • Germany, Budenheim, municipal wastewater, phosphates, nutrients, resource recovery