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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

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Research Project: Sustainable Technologies for Table Olive/Olive Mill Wastewater Management

Location: Healthy Processed Foods Research

Project Number: 2030-41000-064-03-R
Project Type: Reimbursable Cooperative Agreement

Start Date: Oct 1, 2012
End Date: Jun 30, 2015

California’s olive processors consume more than 300 million gallons of water each year. The water is costly to purchase and, after processing, difficult to treat in an environmentally sensitive manner. This problem is becoming acute, with olive acreage having increased by 50 percent over the past 7 years. The proposal’s objectives: improve water quality, increase water conservation, and accelerate Best Management Practices to enhance the economic viability of olive processing in California. ARS will focus on water processing from olive oil production, while UCDOC will focus on water processing from table olive production.

1. The project team will obtain wastewater from table olive and olive oil processors during the 2012, 2013, and 2014 harvest seasons: (a) USDA-ARS scientists will test several concentration/drying unit operations such as centrifugation, resin separation, and various drying techniques. (b) UCDOC scientists will test the samples by using lab-scale and industrial-scale membrane filtration systems. 2. For each technique, we will calculate the energy requirement per unit water removed and will evaluate the resulting concentrates/powders for their physical, chemical, and nutritional properties. In addition, we will assess the economic costs and environmental impact of each technology. 3. We will develop a comparison matrix of all techniques and will test integrated wastewater management strategies in late 2014. 4. UCDOC will lead dissemination and distribution of Best Management Practices to olive processors to maximize water conservation, quality and byproduct value.

Last Modified: 10/19/2017
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