College of Food, Ag & Nat Res Sci
Sewage sludge incineration is a method for producing energy while reducing waste volume. The ash from incineration is landfilled but contains significant amounts of phosphorus, which could potentially be used as a fertilizer. The ash also contains metals, which could act either as micronutrients or metals of concern. This group's objectives are to assess the effects of the ash on available P and release of metals over time and determine if the ash has any effects on soil microbial community structure. Soil samples have been collected from lab incubation and field experiments for metagenomic analysis. Preliminary results from a 64-day incubation study have shown little effects of the ash on microbial community structure, but longer-term studies are needed to determine the effects of the ash under field conditions.