The heat is not used unfortunately. The old “multiple hearth” incinerator that was used from 1982 till around 2005? That had a steam generator and heat reclaim system for the boilers to provide heat to the surrounding buildings. But the new incinerator was most likely bid lower than the rest so they went with that. It’s no frills and all it does is burn sludge.
And in regards to how long it takes to build. I witnessed contractors build our #1 incinerator in less than 6 months. From welding the steel case, hauling in the pipe (pre-casted refractory lined), to laying all the fire bricks in the fire box and freeboard. It was 24-7 work. I wish I had the video of them using a HUGE crane to drop the massive heat exchanger down thru a roof hatch, 4 stories and set it on it’s 7 foot thick concrete pad in the basement. Had to evacuate the building for that stunt haha.
Also, at the rate we burn we could cover many acres a week in sludge if we tried to land apply or dry it with that method. At our best rate of burn we achieve about 5000 dry pounds an hour. Which would be roughly 1000 gallons of sludge at 2% suspended solids a minute.
I believe Raleigh has a program where they land apply and then grow feed corn to the local farms and hunters at a huge discount. It’s a great idea and I wished our site had something like that but some things are just the way they are.