Springer Nature is making SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19 research free. View research | View latest news | Sign up for updates

Particle size fractionation and metal distribution in sewage sludges

  • 105 Accesses


A sequential step filtration technique has been used to investigate the different particle size fractions of suspended solids in several raw, activated and digested sewage sludge samples. Liquid sludge was passed through filters with progressively smaller pore sizes, from 100 µm down to 0.2 µm. The concentrations of Cd, Cu, Ni, Pb, and Zn associated with each particle size fraction were also determined. The particle size distributions indicated that there was a greater proportion of larger particles in the raw and activated sludges than in the digested sludges. Generally in activated sludge the metals tended to be associated with the large particles of > 100 µm, whereas in raw and particularly digested sludges the metals were found in the smaller particle size fractions from 20 µm, down to 2.5 µm. Calculating specific associations in terms of mg kg−1 the 8 to 20 µm range appears important in complexing metals. This was especially evident when comparing the sludges from the same treatment works. Generally distributions were more widespread when results were expressed as mg kg−1 as opposed to mg L−1.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.


  1. Baldwin, A., Brown, T. A., Beckett, P. H. T., and Elliot, G. E. P.: 1983, Water Res. 17, 1935.

  2. Barnes, D., Cooksey, B. G., Metters, B., and Metters, C.: 1975, J. Water Treat. Exam. 24, 318.

  3. Chapman, D. V.: 1986, Sci. Total Environ. 48, 1.

  4. Chen, K. Y., Young, C. S., and Rohatgi, N.: 1974, J Water Pollut. Control Fed. 46, 2663.

  5. Forster, C. F.: 1983, Environ. Technol. Letts. 1, 239.

  6. Garber, W. F., Ohara, G. T., Colbaugh, J. E. and Raksit, S. K.: 1975, J. Water Pollut. Control Fed. 47, 950.

  7. Gould, M. S. and Genetellie, E. J.: 1975, Proe. Ind. Waste Conf. Purdue University 30, 689.

  8. Gould, M. S. and Genetelli, E. J.: 1978, Water Res. 12, 505.

  9. Hayes, T. D. and Theis, T. L.: 1976, Proc. Ind. Waste Conf. Purdue University 31, 157.

  10. Hayes, T. D. and Theis, T. L.: 1978, J. Water Pollut. Control Fed. 50, 61.

  11. Kempton, S., Sterritt, R. M., and Lester, J. N.: 1983, Environ. Pollut. (Ser. A) 32, 51.

  12. Kempton, S., Sterritt, R. M., and Lester, J. N.: 1987, Sci. Total Environ. 63, 247.

  13. Laxen, D. P. H. and Harrison, R. M.: 1981, Sci. Total Environ. 19, 59.

  14. Lester, J. N.: 1983, Sci. Total Environ. 30, 1.

  15. Matthews, P. J.: 1984, CRC Critical Reviews in Environmental Control 14, 199.

  16. Oliver, B. G. and Cosgrove, E. G.: 1974, Water Res. 8, 869.

  17. Rudd, T., Sterritt, R. M., and Lester, J. N.: 1984, Water Res. 18, 379.

  18. Standing Committe of Analysts: 1984, Suspended Settleable and Total Dissolved Solids in Waters and Effluents 1980, Methods for the Examination of Waters and Associated Materials, London, H.M.S.O.

  19. Stephenson, T. and Lester, J. N.: 1987, Sci. Total Environ. 63, 199.

  20. Sterritt, R. M. and Lester, J. N.: 1980, Environ Technol. Letts. 1, 402.

  21. Sterritt, R. M., Brown, M. J., and Lester, J. N.: 1981, Environ. Pollut. (Ser. A) 24, 313.

  22. Stoveland, S., Astruc, M., Lester, J. N., and Perry, R.: 1979, Sci. Total Environ. 12, 25.

  23. Stoveland, S. and Lester, J. N.: 1980, Sci. Total Environ. 16, 37.

  24. Tan, K. H., King, L. D., and Morris, H. D.: 1971, Soil Sci. Soc. Am. Proc. 35, 748.

Download references

Author information

Additional information

Author for all correspondence.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Yeoman, S., Sterritt, R.M., Rudd, T. et al. Particle size fractionation and metal distribution in sewage sludges. Water Air Soil Pollut 45, 27–42 (1989). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00208575

Download citation


  • Sludge
  • Sewage Sludge
  • Activate Sludge
  • Suspended Solid
  • Small Particle Size