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Reduce Sludge Disposal Costs with Superabsorbent Polymers

Modern sewage treatment plant, aerial view from droneManaging Costs of Liquid Waste Disposal

Superabsorbent polymers (SAPs) provide many financial and environmental benefits in the rapid solidification of liquid-bearing wastes and contaminated sediments. Environmental remediation professionals utilize SAPs for minimizing waste volume, excessive transportation and disposal expenses, and reagent handling and mixing costs. Furthermore, SAPs are not only safe for the environment, but prevent leaching of toxic waste into groundwater, surface water, and other sensitive natural resources.

Excavating, transporting, and disposing of sludge from wastewater treatment processes is technically challenging and expensive. When considering SAPs for solidification, hauling, and disposal projects, the question most frequently asked is: How much budget can SAP save compared to other absorbents?


Bulky Absorbents = Excessive Weight = Increased Disposal Costs

Compared to commodity absorbents such as sawdust, waste fluff, corn cobs, and cement products, SAP-based technologies feature superior liquid absorbency and retention, allowing remediation professionals to minimize waste disposal costs, treatment time, and environmental impacts. 

Water Pollution From The Big City

Image: Water Pollution From The Big City

Traditional absorbents require high dosage rates for waste solidification. These rates can be as high as 100% - 200% (by weight). The large volumes of conventional absorbents result in excessive liquid management costs due to the extra time spent on-site mixing the reagent, material freight charges, and the reagent's excess weight that must be transported and disposed of in a landfill. Savings from using SAPs v. sawdust on a solidification project typically range from 20% to 60% in transportation and disposal costs. 



Calculating the Amount of SAP Needed to Solidify Wastewater Treatment Sludge

To determine the amount of SAP needed to solidify sludge, drilling mud, or other liquid-bearing wastes, begin with the number of cubic feet of liquid waste, and convert to liquid gallons. A one-cubic foot of liquid sludge equates to approximately 7.48 gallons. Next, use six as your multiplier for a liquid gallon; this will provide you with the total weight (lbs.) of liquid waste.   

Use the following calculator to determine the amount of SAP needed to solidify liquid waste.

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Number of Cubics Feet
1 Cu Ft = 7.48052 Gal 7.4802
Total Liquid Gallons  0



Liquid Waste (Gallons)
x Lbs/Gallon 6
Total # Lbs 0
Total # Lbs x 1% SAP 0
Total Lbs of SAP 0


In summary, commodity absorbents increase the amount of bulk waste, which translates into excess weight; this results in increased disposal costs.

Zappa Stewart provides industry-leading solidification reagents. Our technical consultants are available to assist you with product information to meet your waste management needs. Please contact us.


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This entry was posted in SAP, superabsorbent polymers, Wastewater Treatment Sludge, SAP costs on November 16, 2020 by Maribeth Taylor

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