Main content area

Removal of organic pollutants and nutrients from olive mill wastewater by a sand filter

Achak, M., Mandi, L., Ouazzani, N.
Journal of environmental management 2009 v.90 no.8 pp. 2771-2779
olives, food processing wastes, wastewater treatment, organic matter, phenolic compounds, nitrogen, phosphates, pollutants, extraction, chemical oxygen demand, sand, filters, pH, electrical conductivity
The aim of this work was to examine the performance of a sand filter in treating modern olive mill (OMW) effluents after dilution with domestic wastewater on a one-to-one basis. The experimental pilot consisted of a column of opaque PVC, and the sand filter was filled with 50 cm of sand and 10 cm of gravel in the top and the bottom of the filter. The alimentation (4 cm/day) was done sequentially following a 1 day wet/3 days dry cycle. The OMW effluent was very acidic with a pH of 4.12, and had high concentrations of phenolic compounds (7.2 g/L) and total chemical oxygen demand (65 g/L). The percolation of the diluted OMW through the sand filters caused an increase in pH from 4.84 to 8.25 and a 90% removal of total suspended solids. The sand filter treatment also led to important reductions in organic matter (90% of total COD, 83% of dissolved COD and 92% of phenolic compounds) and nutrients (91% of Kjeldahl-nitrogen, 97% of ammonia-nitrogen, 99% of nitrate-nitrogen and 99% of phosphates). The flow rate became very low indicating clogging of the sand pores after 10 weeks. HPLC analysis of the diluted OMW before and after passage through the sand filter showed an important reduction in the toxic monomeric compounds after the treatment.