The combustion and pyrolysis of sewage sludge and refuse-derived fuel (RFD) in multiple-hearth furnaces were recommended as a means of generating energy to power the Central Contra Costa Sanitary District's 30 mgd wastewater treatment plant using an off-gas from the pyrolysis process. In a full-scale test, a furnace in Concord, once used for sewage sludge incineration, was operated under O/sub 2/-starved conditions by limiting air addition through the burners and air nozzles, resulting in partial combustion. Using temperature as the controlled variable, the process was regulated to form a fuel gas through composition of the organic feed matter. Just enough fuel gas was combusted to evaporate moisture in the feed solids and furnish heat for the decomposition process. During most of the testing the afterburner was maintained at a temperature > 1400/sup 0/F with pyrolysis gas. At this temperature, automatic ignition of the gas occurred. When the gas generated dropped to a low heat of combustion because of high feed moisture content, the afterburner burner was used to ignite the gas. Some test observations are discussed. Preparation of the solid waste for processing by the use of shredders, air classifiers, and magnetic separators is described.