Olive & Olive Oil Processing Wastewater Treatment

We can help olive growers and oil producers to recover valuable pomace, reduce transport and handling costs and improve options for water reuse and wastewater treatment processing.

The timing of harvest is critical to make high-quality extra virgin olive oil; in order to be turned into a premium product, olives may need to be processed the same day they are harvested. This kind of high-volume production within a compressed timeframe can lead to increased wastewater discharge fees if a plant is not adequately prepared. 

Wherever possible, olive processing facilities should be looking to increase efficiency and cut waste. Reusing water, improving wastewater treatment and recovering by-products for onward sale are critical efficiency and cost-saving issues that olive oil producers should be considering. 

Our food processing water management solutions can help you recover valuable pomace and produce dewatered output that reduces your transport and handling costs. Additionally, removing these solids from your waste stream gives you options for water reuse, and reduces your wastewater treatment processing needs.

Rotating belt screening for olive and olive oil producers

Ever-increasing sewer discharge fees can be a significant operational expense. The Hydro MicroScreen™ ultrafine rotating belt screen can reduce - and in some applications eliminate - sewer discharge fees, and can often pay for itself in reduced disposal and treatment costs in a single season.

In many cases, this recovered dewatered material may also have value; screening can provide the opportunity to sell solids into new markets more cost effectively, create additional product, or create biomass for waste to energy conversion. Further, dewatered solids have less volume and weight, which decreases handling and transportation costs.

The Hydro MicroScreen can reduce sewer discharge fees, and can pay for itself in a single season.

Screening olive oil wash-water for water reuse

Olive oil production requires a tremendous amount of water to wash dirt and other impurities from harvested olives to prepare for pressing.  If discharged directly, wash water has the potential to overwhelm sewer treatment systems. Ideally this process water can be reused to irrigate olive groves or other crops. 

Read about how one Napa Valley winemaker used treated effluent to irrigate vines.

However, wastewater that contains solids will clog diffusers and irrigation systems, and problematic Biological Oxygen Demand (BOD) needs to be reduced before that water is suitable for irrigation purposes.

Often wastewater is sent to large settling tanks to allow solids to settle out to make usable irrigation water, but this process leads to a massive amount of settled material that is difficult and expensive to deal with.  Some olive oil producers have no other choice but to landfill this heavy, high-volume, high water content residual material from their settling tanks. 

Transportation costs, fuel costs, and disposal fees add up very quickly; the Hydro MicroScreen™ represents a better solution.

Benefits

  • Reduces solids sent to sedimentation systems, which increases their capacity
  • Reduces particulate BOD and TSS, reducing the need for downstream treatment processes
  • Outputs dewatered product with low water content, which provides alternative disposal options and improves disposal efficiency
  • Allows producers to recycle and reuse more water, more efficiently 

Olive oil by-product removal, compaction and dewatering

After olive oil production, 80% of organic material remains as a by-product.  This material still has value, but conventional recovery methods reduce the profitability of this by-product to use as animal feed. It is often entrained in a slurry with a significant amount of viscous and heavy oil and water, making it difficult to deal with and expensive to transport.

The Hydro MicroScreen™ can help you recover this valuable material much more efficiently and provide a relatively dry product that can be cost-effectively sold and transported to end users in a wider geographic area than was previously profitable.

Benefits

  • Effectively recaptures pomace waste from fruit wash water, CIP, and equipment cleaning water
  • Outputs drier compacted materials, which significantly reduce hauling costs for pomace as a waste or by-product

Case studies 

Napa Valley, California

The Hydro MicroScreen™ system removed 89% of bulk suspended solids for one olive oil producer in California's Napa Valley. Removing solids prior to clarification improved the quality of this plant’s wash water effluent, allowing more effective use of their clarification systems, and enabling quicker re-use of valuable water assets. This system captures much more of their pomace than their conventional screening system, significantly increases the value of trucked pomace volume, and reduces transportation costs.

Read the case study: Hydro MicroScreen™ boosts profitability of olive pomace recovery and reduces wastewater treatment costs

See it in action

Watch our video to see the Hydro MicroScreen™ screening olive processing wash water:

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