The long-drawn-out affair of the ‘sludge lake’ on the islet of Psyttaleia off the coast of Piraeus, where special tanks are brimming with an estimated 250,000-300,000 tons of Athens city waste, will soon be over, officials said yesterday. Piraeus Prefect Yiannis Michas said the plant, which will have a capacity for drying up to 330 tons of sludge daily, will start operating on June 1. In addition to the problem of its disposal, the ‘lake’ has also given rise to persistent protests by residents of the Piraeus municipality of Perama, who are taking the brunt of the bad odor coming across from the islet. To date, quantities of the sludge, which has been described as a ‘time bomb’ for the Saronic Gulf, have been shipped for drying to special plants in Germany. The dried-out product is considered to be thermally equivalent to lignite.