No bric-a-bracs

Bricks can be made with 30 per cent sewage sludge

Published: Thursday 31 October 2002

If you can't find landfill space to dump your sewage, then it is good news -- the filth can be used for building houses. A research team in Taiwan has found that sludge from sewage can be used to bulk up bricks. "It's a win-win situation because it converts the wastes into useful materials and alleviates disposal problems," says Chih-Huang Weng, leader of the team from I-Shou University in Kaohsiung county that devised the process. Although the solid waste that Weng added to the bricks were filtered from industrial effluent, he says domestic sewage would do just as well.

There are other benefits of the technology. The firing process locks away for good any toxic heavy metals in the sludge. It also destroys any hazardous microbes and organic material. And the bricks don't smell at all, says Weng. But he admits that people might need a little convincing to live in such intimate contact with their own waste.

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