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How safe is safe enough? Public views of tradeoffs on the reuse of treated wastewater and sewage sludge

In Sweden, discussions in policy circles over potentially conflicting societal goals — reducing toxic substances and enhancing a circular economy for disposal of wastewater and sewage sludge from wastewater treatments, have so far engaged few stakeholders. However, the Swedish public – a vital constituency, is often absent. This project seeks to deepen understanding of how the Swedish public see and explain the use of treated wastewater and sewage sludge for productive purposes.

Active project


Separation of solid waste from water in a sewage water treatment process

Separation of solid waste from water in a sewage water treatment process. Photo: fotolinchen / E+ / Getty Images.

The aim is to develop and test a survey for measuring the nature and variability of Swedish citizens’ views on non-toxic environment and enhancement of a circular economy, and on their beliefs, attitudes, and policy preferences for wastewater reuse and land application of sewage sludge.

The innovations include: a public survey of Swedish publics’ views on wastewater reuse/sludge management within the policy context of reduction of toxic substances and circular economy goals for society. This will be informed by multiple stakeholders’ input regarding vital research questions and how to inform public respondents about the policy context. Stakeholders’ interpretations of the public’s views will be elicited.

This will be done through a review of the field, focus group discussions and a national public survey in Sweden.

This project (GFS2021-0020) builds on two previous projects:

The project is funded by the Royal Swedish Agricultural Academy (Stiftelsen Adolf Dahls fond, GFS2021-0020).

The Partners include:



Nelson Ekane
Nelson Ekane

Research Fellow

SEI Headquarters

Design and development by Soapbox.