Environmental Science and Pollution Research

, Volume 26, Issue 19, pp 18993–19011 | Cite as

Process optimization via response surface methodology in the physico-chemical treatment of vegetable oil refinery wastewater

  • Ghofrane Louhıchı
  • Latifa Bousselmı
  • Ahmed Ghrabı
  • Imen KhounıEmail author
Advanced Oxidation Process for Sustainable Water Management


The present paper investigates the efficiency of coagulation/flocculation process using aluminum sulfate as coagulant and CHT industrial flocculent as coagulant aid/flocculent in the treatment of vegetable oil refinery wastewater (VORW). The process optimization was conducted in two steps, jar test experiments for preliminary evaluation to identify the most influencing factors and response surface methodology using Box–Behnken design to investigate the effects of three major factors and their interactions. The variables involved were the coagulant concentration (X1), flocculent dosage (X2), and initial pH (X3) of water samples, while the responses were COD removal (Y1) and residual turbidity (Y2). The optimal conditions obtained by solving the quadratic regression models, as well as by analyzing the response surface contour plots, were as follows: 2.4 g/L of coagulant (aluminum sulfate), 60.05 mg/L of flocculent, and about 9.23 as initial pH. Under these conditions, the coagulation/flocculation treatment was able to achieve 99% of COD removal with total turbidity elimination (100% removal). Analysis of variance showed high variance coefficient (R2) values of 0.929 and 0.836 for COD and turbidity removals, respectively, thus ensuring a satisfactory adjustment of the second-order regression model with the experimental data. This statistical design methodology was demonstrated as an efficient and feasible approach for the optimization of coagulation/flocculation treatment.


Vegetable oil refinery effluent Coagulation/flocculation Optimization Response surface methodology Box–Behnken design Wastewater treatment 



The authors would like to gratefully express their appreciation to the staff of the agro-food Industry “ZOUILA” we are working with especially to Mr. Haithem MANSOUR for providing us the vegetable oil refinery wastewater samples generated from their industry also for their valuable comments and kind assistance during the research study.


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© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Laboratory of Wastewater and EnvironmentWater Research and Technologies Centre (CERTE)SolimanTunisia
  2. 2.Faculty of Sciences of BizerteUniversity of CarthageJarzounaTunisia

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