Grasas y Aceites, Vol 66, No 1 (2015)

The importance of pretreatment tailoring on the performance of ultrafiltration membranes to treat two-phase olive mill wastewater

J. M. Ochando Pulido
Chemical Engineering Department, University of Granada, Spain


In this work, the performance of an ultrafiltration (UF) membrane in the treatment of the effluents by-produced by olive mills is addressed by applying different pretreatments on the raw effluents. By conducting a photo-catalytic process (UV/TiO2 PC) after pH-temperature flocculation (pH-T F) higher threshold flux values were observed for all feed stocks than by applying solely the pH-T F process, with an 18.8–34.2% increment. In addition, the performance of the UF membrane was also improved in terms of rejection efficiency, such that higher rejection values were yielded by the membrane for the organic pollutants (RCOD) by 48.5 vs. 39.9% and 53.4 vs. 42.0%. The UF membrane performance was also improved in terms of the volume feed recovery factor (VFR), achieving up to 88.2 vs. 87.2% and 90.7 vs. 89.3%. Results in the same line were also observed when the highly polluted olives oil washing wastewater raw stream was previously mixed with the effluent stream coming from the washing of the olives. This permits the UF to permeate, achieving the standard limits to reuse the purified effluent for irrigation purposes (COD values below 1000 mg·L−1), which makes the treatment process cost-effective and results in making the olive oil production process environmentally friendly.


Olive mill wastewater; Pretreatment tailoring; Threshold flux; Ultrafiltration; Wastewater treatment

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