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Lowering Sludge Disposal Cost

The Challenge:

An industrial customer in Ohio was faced with rising sludge disposal costs, taking a big part of the waste treatment operating budget. A rotary vacuum filter was installed with the wastewater equipment to dewater the sludge reducing the volume for disposal. Unfortunately, rising costs such as landfill tipping fees, utilities, labor and pre-coat materials have made this process very expensive.


Labor (2 shifts/1 man each)

2 shifts x 40 hr/wk x $6.00/hr x 52 wk/yr = $24,960.00/yr

Pre-Coat Filter Powder

9 bags/day x $14.00/bag x 5 days/wk x 52 wks/yr = $32,760.00/yr

Utilities (Electric/Water)

$5.20/day x 5 days/wk x 52 wks/yr = $1,352.00/yr

Landfill Costs

$7.29/cu. yd - appriox $2,000.00/mo x 12 mo/yr = $24,000.00/yr 

Annual Costs

Total annual sludge disposal costs= $82,100.00/yr

The Solution:

Alternatives were investigated to find a solution to lower sludge disposal costs. A liquid sludge processor was contracted to haul and properly dispose the non-hazardous wet sludge. A reduction in labor from full-time operators to part-time observers, and pre-coat materials and utility elimination lowered costs. 


Labor (2 shifts/1 part-time man each)

2 shifts x 10 hr/wk x $6.00/hr x52 wks/yr = $6,240.00/yr

Disposal Costs 

Costs $0.38/gallon - estimated 1500 gallons sludge/wk

1500 gallons sludge/wk x $0.38/gallon x 52 wk/yr = $29,640.00/yr


Costs Eliminated 

The Results:

In comparing the solid sludge disposal costs with the liquid sludge disposal cost, this industrial launderer proposed to save $46,230.00/yr. Labor hours can now be used for production maintenance where it counts. In addition, they are in the process of selling their rotary vacuum filter, removing the cost of equipment depreciation from the operating budget.