Treatment and Recycle of Olive Mill Waste at Rural Olive Mills in the West Bank

EPA Grant Number: SU835308
Title: Treatment and Recycle of Olive Mill Waste at Rural Olive Mills in the West Bank
Investigators: Hong, Andy , Earl, J. , Elmadhoun, A. , Li, Xinhua , Sweeney, D.
Current Investigators: Hong, Andy , Conroy-Ben, Otakuye , Earl, Jessica , Elmadhoun, A. , Lin, Ching-Chieh
Institution: University of Utah
EPA Project Officer: Hahn, Intaek
Phase: I
Project Period: August 15, 2012 through August 14, 2013
Project Amount: $15,000
RFA: P3 Awards: A National Student Design Competition for Sustainability Focusing on People, Prosperity and the Planet (2012) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: Pollution Prevention/Sustainable Development , P3 Challenge Area - Water , P3 Awards , Sustainability


Olive mill waste (OMW), a byproduct of olive oil production, is a major environmental pollutant due to its high organic content, pH and concentration of phytotoxic compounds. In the West Bank OMW is disposed of without treatment into waterways and cesspools generating odor, surface and groundwater pollution and inhibiting aquatic plant and animal life. The objective of this project is to address a relatively simple process that can be installed for an acceptable cost to olive mill owners to treat solid and liquid wastes generated from olive oil production in the West Bank and other olive oil producing areas.


The proposed project addresses people in the form of preserving fresh-water resources, the planet in the form of reducing surface- and ground-water pollution, prosperity in the form of direct and indirect reduction of societal economic burdens through utilization of process outputs for agricultural use and reduction in the cost and use of delivered freshwater. The focus of the project will be to design an OMW treatment process for an olive mill in the village of Deir Abu Mashal in the West Bank. However, by addressing location-specific constraints the solution will be applicable throughout the West Bank and broader Mediterranean region. The University of Utah team will focus on testing and evaluation of the proposed treatment process which includes physical treatment by sand filtration, aerobic biological treatment of the liquid component, and composting of the solid component. A collaborative partnership has been established with Birzeit University in the West Bank who will assist the Utah team by characterizing the waste material, identifying locally available construction materials, and assessing the willingness of local mill owners to invest in the treatment process. In addition, a training program will be established to ensure that end-users will be educated regarding the need for treatment, and installation and operation of the treatment process. Both teams will share their experiences through undergraduate engineering seminar presentations.

Expected Results:

The expected result of this project is the development of a simple, lowmaintenance process that treats OMW to acceptable secondary standards, utilizes locally available construction material, is acceptable to the end-users, and is transferrable to olive mills throughout the Mediterranean region. The community will benefit from the reduced groundwater, surface water and odor pollution, and recycle of process outputs at the olive farm.

Publications and Presentations:

Publications have been submitted on this project: View all 2 publications for this project

Journal Articles:

Journal Articles have been submitted on this project: View all 1 journal articles for this project

Supplemental Keywords:

Treatment technologies, environmental education, water conservation, waste to value, agricultural wastewater treatment

Progress and Final Reports:

  • Final Report