Mr. William O'Brien
To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what amount of sewage sludge has been deposited into sea for each year since 1991–92; what alternatives to sewage sludge deposited into the sea have been considered; what consultations have taken place in respect of such alternatives; and if he will make a statement.
§ Mr. Atkins
Approximately 13,000 tonnes of dry solids of sewage sludge has been disposed of at sea by the Department of the Environment in the calendar years 1991 and 1992.
The Department is currently examining all the options available for the treatment and disposal of sewage sludge. Among these options are anaerobic digestion and various forms of dewatering for disposal to agricultural land. Incineration in its various types is also being examined and assessed.
The investigation will conform to the best practicable environmental option approach which requires full consultation with all appropriate parties.