Modified bentonite as a conditioning agent for stabilising heavy metals and retaining nutrients in sewage sludge for agricultural uses

Yu Cheng, Kangmin Chon, Xianghao Ren, Meiling Li, Yingying Kou, Moon Hyun Hwang, Kyu Jung Chae

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


The management and disposal of excess sludge are emerging issues owing to the high costs associated with treatment. In this study, the viability of a modified bentonite was investigated as a conditioning agent for the stabilisation of heavy metals (i.e., Cu, Zn, Cr, Pb, and Cd) and the retention of nutrient species (i.e., total nitrogen (TN), total phosphorus (TP), available nitrogen (available N), and Olsen-phosphorus (Olsen-P)) in sewage sludge for agricultural use. Five grams of modified bentonite resulted in the highest stabilisation rate of heavy metals and strongly contributed to the stabilisation of heavy metals. However, increased amounts of modified bentonite might increase the TN, available N, and TP losses in the conditioned sewage sludge. Through the analytic hierarchy process modelling, optimal concentrations of nutrient species and heavy metals remaining in the conditioned sewage sludge were achieved when the ratio of bentonite to sewage sludge was 1:12.5 (4 g bentonite: 50 g sludge). Moreover, the optimal mixing ratio of the conditioned sewage sludge to the soil (1:2) was suggested for agricultural use. Based on these observations, modified bentonite allowed the sewage sludge to be used as a fertiliser in agriculture by stabilising heavy metals and retaining nutrient species.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2252-2264
Number of pages13
JournalWater Science and Technology
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 2021 Nov 1

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was funded by Open Research Fund Program of Key Laboratory of Urban Stormwater System and Water Environment (Beijing University of Civil Engineering and Architecture), Ministry of Education, and also supported by the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF) grant funded by the Korea government (MSIT) (No. 2020R1A4A1019568).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 The Authors


  • Analytic hierarchy process modelling
  • Heavy metals
  • Modified bentonite
  • Nutrients
  • Sewage sludge

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Water Science and Technology


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