Skip to main content
Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2022

Open-air storage with and without composting as post-treatment methods to degrade pharmaceutical residues in anaerobically digested and dewatered sewage sludge

Dalahmeh, Sahar S.; Thorsen, Gunnar; Jonsson, Hakan


Over a period of 12 months, the fate of three hormones, 12 antibiotics and 30 pharmaceutically active substances (PhACs) was investigated during open-air storage without and with composting of anaerobically digested and dewatered sewage sludge. The effect of oxidation conditions during storage on degradation of hormones and PhACs in the sludge biomass was also examined. Under summer and winter conditions in Uppsala County, Sweden. two field-scale sludge windrows were constructed: open-air storage of sewage sludge windrow without composting (NO-COM)) and open-air storage windrow with composting (COM). NO-COM achieved effective removal of Sigma Hormones (85%) and Sigma Antibiotics (95%), but lower removal of Sigma PhACs (34%), during the study year. The top layers of the sludge pile had significantly lower concentrations of Sigma PhACs (3100-5100 ng/g ash) than deeper layers (8000-11,000 ng/g ash). After one year of composting, the degradation in the COM windrow resulted in concentrations of Sigma Hormones (


Antibiotics; Hormones; Pharmaceuticals; Sewage sludge; Compost

Published in

Science of the Total Environment
2022, volume: 806, article number: 151271
Publisher: ELSEVIER

Authors' information

Dalahmeh, Sahar S.
Uppsala University
Thorsen, Gunnar
IVL Swedish Environmental Research Institute
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Energy and Technology

UKÄ Subject classification

Environmental Sciences

Publication Identifiers


URI (permanent link to this page)