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Fate of Potential Contaminants Due to Disposal of Olive Mill Wastewaters in Unprotected Evaporation Ponds

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Abstract

The disposal of olive mill wastewaters (OMW) in shallow and unprotected evaporation ponds is a common, low-cost management practice, followed in Mediterranean countries. So far, the fate of potential soil pollutants in areas located near evaporation ponds is not adequately documented. This study investigates the extent in which the long-term disposal of OMW in evaporation ponds can affect the soil properties of the area located outside the evaporation pond and assesses the fate of the pollution loads of OMW. Four soil profiles situated outside and around the down slope side of the disposal area were excavated. The results showed considerable changes in concentration of soil phenols at the down-site soil profiles, due to the subsurface transport of the OMW. In addition, excessive concentrations of NH4 +, PO4 3− and phenols were recorded in liquid samples taken from inside at the bottom of the soil profiles. It is concluded that unprotected evaporation ponds located in light texture soils pose a serious threat to favour soil and water pollution.

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Acknowledgments

The work was funded by the European Social Fund and National Resources in the framework of the project THALIS-MIS 380207: ‘‘GEODIAMETRIS—Integrated Geoinformatics Technologies for Time Lapse Monitoring of Land Pollution from the Disposal of Olive-Oil Mills Waste’’. We would like also to thank Mr. Panagiotis Kirmizakis for his valuable help during all the field campaigns.

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Correspondence to V. Kavvadias.

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Kavvadias, V., Elaiopoulos, K., Theocharopoulos, S. et al. Fate of Potential Contaminants Due to Disposal of Olive Mill Wastewaters in Unprotected Evaporation Ponds. Bull Environ Contam Toxicol 98, 323–330 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00128-016-1922-4

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Keywords

  • Olive mill wastewaters
  • Evaporation pond
  • Soil properties
  • Water bodies