Olive Oil Wastewater Characteristics

The olive consists of flesh (75-85% by weight), stone (13-23% by weight) and seed (23% by weight) [12].The chemical composition of the olive is shown in Table 1. The quantities and composition of olive mill waste (OMW) vary considerably, owing to geographical and climatic conditions, tree age, olive type, extraction technology used, use of pesticides and fertilizers, harvest time, and stage of maturity.

In waste generated by olive oil mills, the only constituents found are produced either from the olive or its vegetation water, or from the production process itself. Auxiliary agents, which are hardly used in production, may be influenced and controlled by process management. Therefore, they are not important to the composition of wastewater. However, the composition of the olive and its vegetation wastewater cannot be influenced; thus the constituents of vegetation wastewater are decisive for the expected pollution load. Table 2 summarizes some literature data concerning the constituents of olive oil wastewater [13-25]. The variations of maximum and minimum concentrations of olive oil wastewater resulting from both methods (traditional presses and decanter centrifuge) are also presented, according to the International Olive Oil Council (IOOC) in Madrid [26], in Table 3.

Wastewater from olive oil production is characterized by the following special features and components [27]:

• color ranging from intensive violet-dark brown to black;

• high degree of organic pollution (COD values up to 220 g/L, and in some cases reaching 400 g/L) at a COD/BOD5 ratio between 1.4 and 2.5 and sometimes reaching 5 (difficult to be degraded);

Table 1 Composition of Olives

Constituents

Pulp Stone Seed

Table 1 Composition of Olives

Water

50-60

9.3

30

Oil

15-30

0.7

27.3

Constituents containing nitrogen

2-5

3.4

10.2

Sugar

3-7.5

41

26.6

Cellulose

3-6

38

1.9

Minerals

1-2

4.1

1.5

Polyphenol (aromatic substances)

2-2.25

0.10.5-1

Others

3.4

2.4

Note: Values in percent by weight(%). Source: Ref. 12.

Note: Values in percent by weight(%). Source: Ref. 12.

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