Olive Mill Wastewater: Treatment and Valorization Technologies

  • Yahia Rharrabti
  • Mohamed EI Yamani
Living reference work entry


Olive oil production industry is an important traditional agro-industry in the Mediterranean area, with an annual production of three million tons, which accounted for 97% of the world production. Morocco is one of the Mediterranean countries concerned with the attractive developing production of olive oil, with an annual production capacity of 1.5 million tons of olives and the sixth largest producer of olives after Spain, Italy, Greece, Turkey, and Tunisia. Despite the economic importance of olive mill industry, generation of huge quantities of olive mill wastewater (OMW) and its uncontrolled disposal create a substantial environmental problem.

OMW are characterized by its high toxicity related to its low pH, high content of mineral salts, and high organic load. Several treatment methods have been proposed to search the best potential solutions, including physicochemical methods (e.g., evaporation, coagulation, flocculation, membrane processes), biological treatment (aerobic and anaerobic digestion), and oxidation processes (e.g., ozonation, wet air and Fenton oxidation), but the most common method applied has been the storage of OMW in lagoons, followed by evaporation during summer season. The complex composition of OMW and their poor biodegradability due mainly to the presence of phenolic compounds, lipids, and organic acids make simple treatment methods not sufficient to ensure their purification. Many biotechnological applications have been proposed for the valorization of these liquids that significantly reduce the environmental impact of olive mills (e.g., composting, biogas production, and recovery of valuable compounds).


OMW treatment Thermal processes Chemical processes Membrane processes Anaerobic treatment Anaerobic treatment Oxidation processes Ozonation Wet oxidation Fenton oxidation OMW valorization Land application Composting Biogas production Morocco 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Yahia Rharrabti
    • 1
  • Mohamed EI Yamani
    • 1
  1. 1.Polydisciplinary Faculty of TazaTazaMorocco

Section editors and affiliations

  • Chaudhery Mustansar Hussain
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Chemistry and Environmental SciencesNew Jersey Institute of TechnologyNewarkUSA

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