Central coordination of stakeholder involvement in the decision-making process is required in order to ensure that sewage sludge can be disposed of safely in the future and that there is no overcapacity for sewage sludge disposal and phosphorus recovery. The Federal Office for the Environment (FOEN) started work on SwissPhosphor in September 2018 to meet this need.

SwissPhosphor offers stakeholders a platform for the exchange of information and intentions and organises a consultation process. The aim is to work with stakeholders to develop a plan for Swiss phosphorus recycling in order to ensure the timely application of Articles 15 and 51 AWDO.

The SwissPhosphor platform is organised in accordance with the federal HERMES standard. Various working groups develop the content. These are made up of representatives of the federal and cantonal authorities, plant operators and various stakeholders. The SwissPhosphor platform is coordinated at the regularly scheduled meetings of representatives of the individual working groups. The steering committee makes strategic decisions and is composed of representatives of the cantonal and federal government authorities.

Organisation chart and distribution of SwissPhosphor tasks, as at 2023, Abbreviations: Working group (WG)
© FOEN – Waste and Resources Division

Current state of progress

The results of the work of the SwissPhosphor platform have been summarised in three reports. The report of the cantonal working group and the extensive appendices to the report describe the basic situation and measures for sewage sludge utilisation and set out the cantons' responsibilities in the application of the phosphorus recovery requirements. This outcome document is based on a survey of the cantons and the Principality of Liechtenstein conducted in the first quarter of 2023. In its report, the financing working group discusses various financing models, the three most promising of which are all based on an increase in wastewater charges. The technology working group presents an overview in its final report of the various phosphorus recovery processes and current progress with regard to the planned facilities. This report is intended as a basis for economic calculations in relation to the recovery processes. The working group on the marketing of phosphorus products examined the market potential for recycled phosphorus products. It concluded there would be two main products: phosphoric acid and phosphorus fertiliser. The working group's conclusions were integrated into the report of the technology working group.

Last modification 10.11.2023

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