Standardization: A Necessary Support for the Utilization of Sludge/Biosolids in Agriculture
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One of the issues facing modern society, regardless of the socio-economic level of the communities involved, is the development of sustainable strategies for the management of sludge/biosolids. Nowadays, it is imperative to replace solutions aimed at simply “disposing of” with those oriented toward
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One of the issues facing modern society, regardless of the socio-economic level of the communities involved, is the development of sustainable strategies for the management of sludge/biosolids. Nowadays, it is imperative to replace solutions aimed at simply “disposing of” with those oriented toward “maximizing recovery benefits”. It is desirable that agricultural use remains the main option in sludge/biosolids management; however, to ensure effective and safe agronomic benefits, correctly fulfill the legal requirements, and build stakeholder and public confidence, rigorous and sustainable procedures need to be established. The development of realistic and enforceable regulations is crucial, as they represent the right balance between the different aspects of coordinated and effective management. Furthermore, it is important to recognize that regulations must be supported by standardized characterization procedures and good practice guidelines because well-defined procedures allow the legal requirements to be correctly and uniformly met, as well as to reliably compare the results obtained under different conditions and their wide application in different regulatory contexts. In this article, the main aspects for (i) the sustainable application of sludge/biosolids in agriculture and (ii) the development of standardized characterization methods and procedures, thus ensuring effective agronomic benefits and guaranteeing quality/safety of agricultural products, are discussed. Some pieces on the evolution of European legislation in this field are also provided. Details and results of the research activities behind the development of these methods/procedures can be found in the referenced documents.