HL Deb 28 July 1981 vol 423 c751WA
Lord Beaumont of Whitley

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Whether, in view of the proposed renewal of the sewerage system, they will consider separation of industrial from domestic sewage so that the latter could be composted and used on the land, thus providing much-needed organic matter, saving expenditure on artificial fertilisers and incidentally providing employment.

The Earl of Avon

The separation of all industrial effluent from domestic sewage would be a major operation and though it would create employment it would put a considerable burden of cost upon the community in general and upon industry in particular. It could not be commended as a general policy.

At present the water authorities exercise strict control over the volume and strength of industrial effluent discharged to sewers and they monitor regularly the toxic materials in sewage. As a result, about 44 per cent. of the total sewage sludge produced in the United Kingdom is utilised for its manurial value in agriculture, making a small but significant contribution to the nation's fertiliser requirement. Guidelines upon the disposal of sewage sludge to land produced by the Department of the Environment and National Water Council encourage the greater utilisation of sludge in agriculture and make recommendations for the prevention of soil pollution.