Valorisation of the sewage sludge ash as cement replacement material

F. Benoudjit, M. Hachemi


Abstract: The amount of sewage sludge from wastewater treatment plants is continuously increasing and becoming a serious issue for environment. Therefore, the valorisation of sewage sludge in sectors such as the construction field where there is high demand for naturel resources would be great for the environment. The present work reports the possibility of using sewage sludge ash as substitute for part of cement in mortars. The cement was mixed at various percentages of sewage sludge ash: 0% (as control mortar), 10%, 20% and 30% of the cement’s weight. Several properties have been tested at various curing ages (2, 7 and 28 days) and compared with control samples: mechanical properties including flexural and compressive strengths, and physical properties namely the dry bulk density, the water absorption and the apparent porosity. The obtained results have revealed that both physical and mechanical properties of mortar was influenced by the ratio of sewage sludge ash which can be used as a substitute of part of the cement in mortar. Flexural and compressive strengths increased over time for all the samples of mortar. The substitution can be as high as 30% while maintaining a compressive strength within the standard requirements at 28 days. Also the use of up to 30% of the weight of cement in sewage sludge ash provides lower dry bulk densities, higher both water absorption and higher apparent porosity than control mortars.

Full Text:



Ahmad, T.; Ahmad, K.; Alam, M. Characterization of water treatment plant's sludge and its safe disposal options. Procedia Environmental Sciences 35 (2016) 950-955.

Singh, R.P.; Agrawal, M. Potential benefits and risks of land application of sewage sludge. Waste Management 28 (2008) 347-358.

Rucinska, T.; Głowacka, A.; Sidełko, R. The Influence of Incinerated Sewage Sludge as an Aggregate on the Selected Properties of Cement Mortars. Materials 14 (2021) 5846.

Li, C.; Zhang, X.; Zhang, B.; Tan, Y.; Li, F. Reuse of Sintered Sludge from Municipal Sewage Treatment Plants for the Production of Lightweight Aggregate Building Mortar. Crystals 11 (2021) 999.

Krejcirikova, B.; Ottosen, L.M.; Kirkelund, G.M.; Rode, C.; Peuhkuri, R.H. Characterization of sewage sludge ash and its effect on moisture physics of mortar. Journal of Building Engineering 21 (2019) 396-403.

Yusr, N.N.M.; Kamaruddin, K.; Saman, H.M.; Tutur, N. Strength Performance of Sustainable Mortar Containing Recycle Sewage Sludge Ash (SSA). Scientific Research Journal 15 (2018) 47-58.

Pan, S.C.; Tseng, D. H.; Lee, C.C.; Lee, C. Influence of the fineness of sewage sludge ash on the mortar properties. Cement and Concrete Research 33 (2003) 1749-1754.

Cyr, M.; Coutand, M.; Clastres, P. Technological and environmental behaviour of sewage sludge ash (SSA) in cement-based materials. Cement and Concrete Research 37 (2007) 1278-1289.

Coutand, M.; Cyr, M.; Clastres, P. Use of sewage sludge ash as mineral admixture in mortars. Construction Materials 159 (2006) 153-162.

Lin, K.L.; Chang, W.C.; Lin, D.F.; Luo, H.L.; Tsai, M.C. Effects of nano-SiO2 and different ash particle sizes on sludge ash–cement mortar. Journal of Environmental Management 88 (2008) 708-714.

Chen, M.; Blanc, D.; Gautier, M.; Mehu, J. Gourdon R. Environmental and technical assessments of the potential utilization of sewage sludge ashes (SSAs) as secondary raw materials in construction. Waste Management 33 (2013) 1268-1275.

Baeza, F.; Payá, J.; Galao, O.; Saval, J.M.; Garcés, P. Blending of industrial waste from different sources as partial substitution of Portland cement in pastes and mortars. Construction and Building Materials 66 (2014) 645-653.

Gastaldini, A.L.G.; Hengen, M.F.; Gastaldini, M.C.C.; do Amaral, F.D.; Antolini, M.B.; Coletto, T. The use of water treatment plant sludge ash as a mineral addition. Construction and Building Materials 94 (2015) 513-520.

de Oliveira Andrade, J.J.; Wenzel, M.C.; da Rocha, G.H.; da Silva, S.R. Performance of rendering mortars containing sludge from water treatment plants as fine recycled aggregate. Journal of Cleaner Production 192 (2018) 159-168.

Bhatty, J.I.; Reid, K.J. Lightweight aggregates from incinerated sludge ash. Waste Management & Research 7 (1989) 363-376.

Cheeseman, C.R.; Virdi, G.S. Properties and microstructure of lightweight aggregate produced from sintered sewage sludge ash. Resources, Conservation and Recycling 45 (2005) 18-30.

Wang, K.S.; Chiou, I.J.; Chen, C.H.; Wang, D. Lightweight properties and pore structure of foamed material made from sewage sludge ash. Construction and Building Materials 19(2005) 627-633.

Cheng, W.N.; Yi, H.; Yu, C.F.; Wong, H.F.; Wang, G.; Kwon, E.E.; Tsang, Y.F. Biorefining waste sludge from water and sewage treatment plants into eco-construction material. Frontiers in Energy Research 7(2019) 1-9.

Baeza-Brotons, F.; Garces, P.; Paya, J.; Saval, J. M. Portland cement systems with addition of sewage sludge ash. Application in concretes for the manufacture of blocks. Journal of Cleaner Production 82 (2014) 112-124.

Lin, K.L.; Chiang, K.Y.; Lin, C.Y. Hydration characteristics of waste sludge ash that is reused in eco-cement clinkers. Cement and Concrete Research 35 (2005) 1074-1081.

Montero, M.A.; Jordán, M.M.; Almendro-Candel, M.B.; Sanfeliu, T.; Hernández-Crespo, M.S. The use of a calcium carbonate residue from the stone industry in manufacturing of ceramic tile bodies. Applied Clay Science 43 (2009) 186-189.

Montero, M.A.; Jordán, M.M.; Hernández-Crespo, M.S.; Sanfeliu, T. The use of sewage sludge and marble residues in the manufacture of ceramic tile bodies. Applied Clay Science 46 (2009) 404-408.

Amin, S.K.; Abdel Hamid, E.M.; El-Sherbiny, S.A.; Sibak, H.A.; Abadir, M.F. The use of sewage sludge in the production of ceramic floor tiles. HBRC Journal 14 (2018) 309-315.

Lin, D.F.; Wang, W.J.; Chen, C.W.; Lin, K.L. Applying Mixture of Municipal Incinerator Bottom Ash and Sewage Sludge Ash for Ceramic Tile Manufacturing. Materials 14 (2021) 3863.

Lin, K.L.; Lin, C.Y. Hydration characteristics of waste sludge ash utilized as raw cement material. Cement and Concrete Research 35 (2005) 1999-2007.

Lin, K.L.; Lin, D.F., Luo, H.L. Influence of phosphate of the waste sludge on the hydration characteristics of eco-cement. Journal of Hazardous Materials 168 (2009) 1105-1111.

Tempest, B.Q.; Pando, M.A. Characterization and Demonstration of Reuse Applications of Sewage Sludge Ash. International Journal of GEOMATE 4 (2013) 552-559.

Bubalo, A.; Vouk, D.; Strimer, N.; Nad, K. Use of Sewage Sludge Ash in the Production of Innovative Bricks-An Example of a Circular Economy. Sustainability 13(2021) 9330.

Cusidó, J.A.; Cremades, L.V. Environmental effects of using clay bricks produced with sewage sludge: Leachability and toxicity studies. Waste Management 32(2012) 1202-1208.

Al-Sayed, M.H.; Madany, I.M.; Rahman, A.; Buali, M. Use of sewage sludge ash in asphaltic paving mixes

in hot regions. Construction and Building Materials 9 (1995) 19-23.

Rodrigues, L.P.; de Holanda, J.N.F. Valorization of Municipal Waterworks Sludge to Produce Ceramic Floor Tile. Recycling 3(2018) 10. doi:10.3390/recycling3010010

del Pilar, M.; Ingunza, D.; Camarini, G.; da Costa, F.M.S. Performance of mortars with the addition of septic tank sludge ash. Construction and Building Materials 160 (2018) 308-315.

Lin, D.F.; Lin, K.L.; Chang, W.C.; Luo, H.L.; Cai, M.Q. Improvements of nano-SiO2 on sludge/fly ash mortar. Waste Management 28(2008) 1081-1087.

Garcés, P.; Pérez-Carrión, M.; García-Alcocel, E.; Payá, J.; Monzó, J.; Borrachero, M.V. Mechanical and physical properties of cement blended with sewage sludge ash. Waste Management 28 (2008) 2495-2502.

Coutand, M.; Cyr, M.; Clastres, P. Use of sewage sludge ash as mineral admixture in mortars. Construction Materials 159 (2006) 153-162.

NF EN 197-1. Ciment - Composition - Spécifications et critère de conformité - Partie 1 : Composition, spécifications et critères de conformité des ciments courants (2001).

ISO 5667-13. Water quality – Sampling – Part 13: Guidance on sampling of sludges from sewage and water treatment works (1997).

NF EN 196-1. Méthodes d’essais des ciments - Partie 1 : Détermination des résistances mécaniques (2006).

ASTM C642. Standard Test Method for Density, Absorption, and Voids in Hardened Concrete, American Society for Teasting and Materials, Annual Book, Pennsylvania, USA (2013).

Pinarli, V.; Emre, N.K. Constructive sludge management ‐ reutilization of municipal sewage sludge in Portland cement mortars. Environmental Technology 15 (1994) 833-841.

Mashaly, A.O.; Shalaby, B.N.; Rashwan, M.A. Performance of mortar and concrete incorporating granite sludge as cement replacement. Construction and Building Materials 169 (2018) 800-818.

Tosti, L.; van Zomeren, A.; Pels, J.R.; Comans, R.N.J. Technical and environmental performance of lower carbon footprint cement mortars containing biomass fly ash as a secondary cementitious material. Resources, Conservation & Recycling 134 (2018) 25-33.

Ergün, L. Effects of the usage of diatomite and waste marble powder as partial replacement of cement on the mechanical properties of concrete. Construction and Building Materials 25 (2011) 806-812.

Heikal, M.; El-Didamony, H.; Morsy, M.S. Limestone filled pozzolanic cement. Cement and Concrete Research 30 (2000) 1827-1834.


  • There are currently no refbacks.