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A review on the use of membrane technology and fouling control for olive mill wastewater treatment

Pulido, Javier Miguel Ochando
The Science of the total environment 2016 v.563-564 pp. 664-675
biodegradation, centrifugation, cost effectiveness, economic feasibility, effluents, fats and oils industry, fouling, ions, olive oil, olives, operating costs, phytotoxicity, wastewater, wastewater treatment
Olive mill effluents (OME) by-produced have significantly increased in the last decades as a result of the boost of the olive oil agro-industrial sector and due to the conversion into continuous operation centrifugation technologies. In these effluents, the presence of phytotoxic recalcitrant pollutants makes them resistant to biological degradation and thus inhibits the efficiency of biological and conventional processes. Many reclamation treatments as well as integrated processes for OME have already been proposed and developed but not led to completely satisfactory and cost-effective results. Olive oil industries in its current status, typically small mills dispersed, cannot afford such high treatment costs. Furthermore, conventional treatments are not able to abate the significant dissolved monovalent and divalent ions concentration present in OME. Within this framework, membrane technology offers high efficiency and moderate investment and maintenance expenses. Wastewater treatment by membrane technologies is growing in the recent years. This trend is owed to the fact of the availability of new membrane materials, membrane designs, membrane module concepts and general know-how, which have promoted credibility among investors. However, fouling reduces the membrane performances in time and leads to premature substitution of the membrane modules, and this is a problem of cost efficiency since wastewater treatment must imply low operating costs. Appropriate fouling inhibition methods should assure this result, thus making membrane processes for wastewater stream treatment both technically and economically feasible. In this paper, the treatment of the effluents by-produced in olive mills, generally called olive mill wastewaters, will be addressed. Within this context, the state of the art of the different pretreatments and integral membrane processes proposed up to today will be gathered and discussed, with an insight in the problem of fouling.