Use of Irradiated Sewage Sludge to Increase Soil Fertility and Crop Yields and to Preserve the Environment


The specific objectives of the project were:

  • To characterize irradiated and non-irradiated sewage sludge in terms of physical and chemical properties, and contents of pathogenic organisms and toxic organic compounds.
  • To quantify the benefits of sewage sludge in terms of increasing crop yields, and improving soil physical properties and chemical fertility including macro- and micro-nutrient availability to crops.
  • To assess the extent of contamination of soils and crops by sludge-derived heavy metals.


As a result of recommendations formulated at a Consultants Meeting organized by the Joint FAO/IAEA Division of Nuclear Techniques in Food and Agriculture and the IAEA Division of Physical and Chemical Sciences, 5 - 9 December 1994 (IAEA-TECDOC-971, Sewage Sludge and Wastewater for Use in Agriculture) the Joint Division implemented a Co-ordinated Research Project "The Use of Irradiated Sewage Sludge to Increase Soil Fertility and Crop Yields and to Preserve the Environment" between 1995 and 2000. The overall objective was to assist national institutes from Member States to develop management practices for the efficient use of sewage sludge as an organic fertilizer for increasing and sustaining crop production and soil fertility in an environmentally sound manner.

Eleven Contract Holders from Argentina, Bangladesh, Egypt, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Pakistan, Portugal, Romania, Sweden and Thailand, and five Agreement Holders from Austria, Germany, Japan, The United States of America and the United Kingdom participated in the Project. The 1st Research Co-ordination Meeting (RCM) was held 10 - 14 July 1995 in Vienna (S. Kumarasinghe, Project Officer), the 2nd RCM 14 - 18 September 1996 in Cairo, Egypt, (C. Hera, Project Officer), the 3rd RCM 22 - 26 June 1998 in Oeiras, Portugal, (P.M. Chalk, Project Officer) and the 4th and final RCM 20 - 24 September 1999 in Serdang, Malaysia (P.M. Chalk, Project Officer).


[Download pdf]


  • Report of the Consultants Meeting, Vienna, 1994. [Download pdf]
  • Sewage Sludge and Wastewater for Use in Agriculture. IAEA-TECDOC-971, Vienna (1997).
  • Report of the First RCM, Vienna, 1995. [Download pdf]
  • Report of the Second RCM, Cairo, 1996. [Download pdf]
  • Report of the Third RCM, Oeiras, 1998. [Download pdf]
  • Report of the Final RCM, Kuala Lumpur, 1999. [Download pdf]
  • Irradiated Sewage Sludge for Application to Cropland. IAEA-TECDOC-1317, Vienna (2002).

Project Officer:

Minh Long Nguyen