Aerosol Formation

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2011 Water, Environment & Transport Service Group
28 February 2011

0Although most of our companies that treat waste are phasing out the paddle rotation systems in the Activated Sludge Process and replacing them with the more efficient diffused oxygen technique another hazard involving aerosol formation is entering our workplaces.

This is the composting of sludge waste and green waste to sell as garden compost and provide another little sustainable earner for our companies that will be cheap to produce. The green waste is sourced from councils from the likes of parks and gardens and woodlands and is supposed to be safe. However there is no way of knowing its history and whether it has been contaminated by weedkiller or herbicides. Even benign weedkillers may be harmful if mixed with other compounds. The high temperatures needed for successful composting and the moisture content results in the formation of aerosols. These tiny droplets can cause permanent damage to the lungs as well as throat infections and a host of minor ailments. Because this hazard cannot be seen and the risks not appreciated there is the temptation to take shortcuts by removing protective visors and clothing which are the last line of defence.

Some information received from our companies is frankly contradictory.

Conference asks that the Water, Environment and Transport Executive commission a study by experts in this field so we are better informed of the risks and can work with our companies to make this process safer for all concerned.

Yorkshire Water Branch