Municipal and industrial wastewater treatment plants produce large amounts of sludge. This excess sludge is an inevitable drawback inherent to the waste activated sludge process. Both the reduction of the amount of sludge produced and improving its dewaterability are of paramount importance. Novel pre-treatment processes have been developed in order to improve sludge dewatering, handling and disposal. This paper discusses the oxidation process utilising the catalytic activation of H(2)O(2) by iron salts, referred to as Fenton's reagent. In previous work, the authors described the experimental laboratory results of H(2)O(2)-oxidation of thickened sludge. Based upon the optimum conditions obtained in these laboratory tests, pilot-scale experiments are conducted. Peroxidation under its optimum conditions, i.e. (i) through addition of 25 g H(2)O(2) kg(-1) DS (dry solids content), (ii) in the presence of 1.67 g Fe(2+)-ions kg(-1) DS, (iii) at pH 3, and (iv) at ambient temperature and pressure, significantly reduces the amounts of sludge and improves the product quality: the amount DS per equivalent inhabitant per day (DS/IE.d) was reduced from 60 to 33.1 g DS/IE.d and the percentage DS of the sludge cake was 47%, which is high compared with the 20-25% achieved in a traditional sludge dewatering facility. An economic assessment for a wastewater treatment plant of 300,000 IE confirms the benefits. Considering the fixed and variable costs and the savings obtained when the sludge is incinerated after dewatering, a net saving of approx. 950,000 Euro per year or 140 Euro per ton DS can be expected.