African Journal of Environmental Science and Technology

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Co-composting of sewage sludge and Echinochloa pyramidalis (Lam.) Hitchc. & Chase plant material from a constructed wetland system treating domestic wastewater in Cameroon

Guy Valerie Djumyom Wafo, Pulcherie Matsodoum Nguemte, Wilfried Arsène Letah Nzouebet, Pierre François Djocgoue, Ives Magloire Kengne


Trials were conducted at the Cité-Verte domestic wastewater treatment station (Yaoundé-Cameroon) in order to assess the effect of three sewage sludge: Macrophyte ratios on the co-composting process and compost quality. The ratios were T1: 25 kg of plant material (Echinochloa pyramidalis) and 75 kg sludge; T2: 50 kg of plant material and 50 kg sludge, and T3: 75 kg of plant material and 25 kg of sludge. The assessment parameters of the co-composting process included the daily evolution of temperature, the pH and water content for each month. The quality of the mature compost obtained was analysed based on their C/N ratio, Ca, Mg, P, K, trace elements and helminth eggs content. During cocomposting, maximum temperatures ranged from 45.3 ± 4.7°C (T1) to 70.77 ± 2.76°C (T3). Mature cocompost was obtained after 3 months (T1), 4 months (T2) and 5 months (T3). Mean pH and C/N ratio of co-composts respectively ranged from 7.26 to 7.62 and from 10 to 15. In mature compost, the average values of organic matter, N and P respectively were 3323 ± 405 mg/kg, 165 ± 32 mg/kg and 36 ± 5 mg/kg for T1; 2945 ± 128 mg/kg, 152 ± 30 mg/kg and 27 ± 6 mg/kg for T2; and 228 ± 103 mg/kg, 105 ± 48 mg/kg and 7 ± 1 mg/kg for T3. K content was 1 mg/kg in all three co-composts. Heavy metals were found at trace levels. Helminth eggs concentration in compost was 0.2 ± 0.03 egg/g (T1), 0.1 ± 0.02 egg/g (T2) and 0.007 ± 0.01 egg/g (T3). All these co-composts did not present a significant hygienic risk with regards to WHO guidelines (2006) for safe reuse of faecal matter or faecal sewage in agriculture (less than 1 egg/g TS). For a given amount of plant harvested, it was concluded that the quickest way to produce a compost safe of parasites will be to mix them with 3/4 of sludge from the digestion tank.

Key words: Co-composting, Cameroon, compost quality, Echinochloa pyramidalis, hygienic risk, sewage sludge.
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