Actions-Summaries of all performed activities

All PROSODOL actions were successfully completed on 31 December 2012

The Project foresees the development and application of 20 Actions.


ACTION 1. Project Management by Soil Science Institute of Athens (SSIA)

Actions that ensured smooth administrative, legal and financial management of the project.

ACTION 2. Info-library establishment : Soil (SSIA)

The action aimed to feed the web-site of the project and to provide data for the following actions (e.g., soil monitoring action, pilot scale actions, integrated approach of measures and actions to be taken in the Mediterranean region, dissemination actions) during the entire duration of the project. Except results the web-site is used as an info-library and for this reason information/data relative to the theme “ Olive oil production in Mediterranean region” was collected.

SSIA was the responsible beneficiary of this action and collected data and information from national and other Mediterranean countries’ sources; journal papers, technical reports, conference presentations in order to feed the info-library with data regarding soil types; olive oil mills’ activities, places of activities, volume and type of wastes, disposal type, soil pollution extent, actions have been taken to reduce environmental impacts; methods of soil chemical analyses; soil monitoring systems, strategies developed and applied; soil remedial/protective methods that have been applied or can be potentially applied, results, benefits, required equipment and cost; composting technology, equipment and cost, economical data; national environmental legislative framework; information for organized events (seminars, conferences) in Greece but also in other European countries. The collected data was in English and in Greek. The English informative material was sent to CERSAA for organizing and uploading to the web site, while the Greek was uploaded on the web site by SSIA.

The following fields were covered:

  • Soil: Quality standards
  • Soil: Soil sampling
  • Soil: Analytical Methods
  • Soil : Remediation
  • Soil : Legislation

SSIA contributed also in the creation of many other pages of the website

  • Deliverable-30/6/2010: Info-library (Delivered)

ACTION 3. Info-library establishment Water (TUC)

TUC collected data and information from books, journal papers, technical reports, conference presentations and other reliable sources. These data include among others: general information about surface- and groundwater and various environmental concerns associated with water; issues regarding water quality; analytical methods used to define the physical and chemical characteristics of water samples i.e. instrumental methods of analysis used in the laboratory or in field; water sampling programs and parameters to be considered (such as sample types, number and volume); legislation and common guidelines regarding drinking water quality (links to European Directives, Canadian thresholds etc are provided); assessment of risk for humans due to OMW application; inventory for OMW treatment technologies. TUC also significantly contributed to the collection of data to feed other website tabs such as news, conferences, links etc. Data have been collected in English (and also translated in Greek) and uploaded on the website of the project. These data were also useful for other actions such as pilot scale tests, integrated measures to be taken in the Mediterranean region and dissemination activities.

The following fields were covered:

  • Water: Quality standards
  • Water: Water sampling
  • Water: Analytical methods
  • Water: Risk assessment
  • Water: Treatment-remediation
  • Water: Legislation

Deliverable-30/6/2010: Info-library.

ACTION 4. Info-library establishment Waste management (CEBAS)

CEBAS has completed the info-library on the Web page of the PROSODOL project with information about olive mill wastes (OMW) management. CEBAS collected data regarding olive mill waste management in Spain from scientific papers, technical documents and Internet and sent to CERSAA according to the proposal plan. Collection of information was continuous and fell within the time schedule. After that, CEBAS collaborated to write the text of the different section and subsections of the info-library and upload in the Web Page of the Project. The English text of this part and another parts of the Info-Library were translated to Spanish in order to complete the Web Page in this language.

Inside this topic, CEBAS have described different points:

  • Wastes: Kinds of OMW
  • Wastes: The OMW characteristics
  • Wastes: Problems and environmental risk derived of these wastes
  • Wastes: Method of treatment or valorization of OMW
  • Wastes: Legislation 

Deliverable-30/6/2010: Info-library (Delivered)

ACTION 5. Info-library establishment Data organizing (CERSAA)  

CERSAA has collected data for the establishment of the info-library. Scientific publications about OMW use/characteristics/management as well as legislative documents about different issues regarding soil, water, waste and waste management were mainly collected. CERSAA collected data files sent by responsible beneficiaries of Actions 2,3,4 and 6 for the entire project duration and categorized and organized them by theme. Specifically CERSAA organized data according to the 3 different axis which were previously identified: soil, water and waste management. Data sent mainly regard legislation about preservation and use of resources belonging to the compartments above mentioned and papers obtained by international reviews which deal with environmental issues about main outputs of research activities regarding soil and water bodies preservation, waste treatment, characteristics and use/disposal/treatment of OOMW, techniques for environmental monitoring, etc. Other subjects considered for the set up of the info library were the following: olive oil mills’ activities, places of activities, volume and type of wastes, disposal type, pollution extent of soil and water bodies, existing studies of regional pollution, actions have been taken to reduce environmental impacts; methods of soil/olive oil wastes chemical analyses; monitoring techniques to assess potential risks of olive oil mills’ wastes, principally aimed at evaluating and quantifying the presence of vegetal oils, the level of BOD and COD; methods for OMWs treatment applied so far, or investigated and applied in pilot scale, benefits, composting technology, equipment and cost, economical data; presentations from workshops and meetings; information of organized events (seminars, conferences) in Italy but also in other European countries. 

The following contents of the info library were set up: 

  •  Olive oil production in the Mediterranean area:
    • Overview
    • pages regarding: statistics about olive and olive oil production, surfaces, olive mills, extraction technologies,…
  • Environment & olive oil production:
    • Overview
    • pages regarding: wastes produced by the olive processing, main properties of wastes, issues related to waste disposal, hazards related to waste disposal in the environment, relevant legislation
  • Waste management:
    • Overview
    • pages regarding: waste treatment methods and technologies, relevant legislation
  • Soil:
    • Overview
    • pages regarding: quality standards, soil sampling techniques, analytical methods used to define soil properties, remediation processes, relevant legislation
  • Water:
    • Overview:
    • pages regarding: quality standards, water sampling techniques, analytical methods used to define water properties, risk assessment, remediation processes, relevant legislation
  • Innovation   

Deliverable-30/6/2010: Info-library

ACTION 6. Info-library establishment Web site (IMS)

The team of IMS-FORTH was the responsible beneficiary for Action 6. Under the specific action, the team of IMS-FORTH undertook the design and construction of the official Web site of the project (implemented in 4 languages), which was enriched by various WEB_GIS applications. The site contributed to the dissemination of the results of the project, the establishment of a network among (and not only) the participating countries, the sharing of the information regarding olive oil disposal sites and the communication between the public and the participants. All the results of the project have been made available to the general public. Read here an executive summary of the achievements of Action 6.

ACTION 7. Data collection, preliminary study of the areas (TUC)

The preliminary study of the project area (today Municipality of Rethymno, former Municipality of Nikiforos Fokas) was completed between January and March, 2009. Collection and evaluation of all available data regarding population and local activities of the target area, number, characteristics and activities of the olive oil mills, hydro-, geomorphological and local meteorological data, initial assessment of environmental impacts caused by the disposal of OMW and identification of neighbouring systems, were carried out. Static maps were collected and uploaded on the website (

An integrated water sampling strategy, suitable for the entire Mediterranean region has been completed in the line of Action 9, to allow reliable assessment of impacts and define appropriate actions to improve and protect soil and water quality from the disposal of OMW. Full assessment of soil, surface and groundwater risk was completed by the end of the project.

A risk analysis was carried out by using the “source of pollution-pollutant pathway-target (pollution receptor)” principle. Geostatistics was used for the assessment of risk while 3D maps allow the visualization of the range of selected parameters determined in soils and waters in the wider affected area.

ACTION 8. Design and implementation of a monitoring system for soil quality at pilot municipality (SSIA)

In order to fulfil the aims of the action, SSIA developed a well-designed soil monitoring study. All the performed activities aimed to deliver:

  • A risk assessment of the pilot area (former Municipality of Nikiforos Fokas, Rethymnon, Crete) regarding soil quality and generalization of the assessment to cover also other disposal areas in Med area.
  • A statistical processing and evaluation of the soil chemical analyses in order to identify a set of appropriate soil indicators, specific for OMW disposal areas
  • A soil monitoring system that can be used by local/regional/national authorities and by individuals (e.g. mill owners).

A carefully designed - based on the land characteristics of the area - monitoring system was implemented at the pilot Municipality, to monitor the quality of soil at olive mills’ wastes disposal areas. The monitoring system foresaw the collection of soil samples at various depths from a) disposal ponds/lagoons b) close and around to disposal ponds and mostly from the down slope side of the ponds c) downstream of the disposal ponds where extensive leaching due to surface and subsurface water movement is likely to occur. Soil samples were collected periodically (every two months), categorized relative to soil classification method and analysed for: electrical conductivity,pH, water saturation, total salts, texture, CaCO3, active CaCO3, organic matter, nitrogen, available phosphorous, cation exchange capacity, exchangeable K, exchangeable Ca, exchangeable Mg, exchangeable Na, water soluble Na, available Fe, available Mn, available Cu, available Zn, total polyphenols, available Boron, water soluble anions: Cl-. NH4+, SO42-, PO43-, NO3-, total heavy metals (Cd, Pb, Ni, Cr, Mo), microbial activity and pathogens content.

Six soil sampling campaigns took place until the action completion:

  • 1st sampling between 5-7 May 2009
  • 2nd sampling between 6-9 July 2009,
  • 3rd sampling between 28 September-2 October 2009
  • 4th sampling between 14 and 18 December.
  • 5thsampling between 1-5 March 2010, and
  • 6th sampling between 17-21 May 2010.

For this, five sites representing different disposal cases were studied. The soil data over the six sampling campaigns from the monitoring sites were presented:

  • control soils (CS) namely representative soil of the area located in a distance from the waste disposal ponds;
  • pond soils of all active sites (PS). All evaporation ponds were constructed by using native soil and simple engineering, while no impermeable membranes or other protective media were used. The ponds are in operation for more than 11 years
  • active sites with surface disposal of OMW (ACTDS). Three active sites were monitored which are in operation for more than 11 years : ACTDS-1; ACTDS-2; ACTDS-3.

 ACTS-1 is a typical disposal site located in a field with almost 10% slope; pond dimensions are 50m×10m×10 m. ACTS-2 represents a different case; the pond (21m×8m×1.70m) was constructed by using native soil material excavated from the top of an adjacent hill. ACTDS-3 is a large field (1 ha) with almost 5% slope and contains two evaporation ponds with dimensions 32m×4.20m×1.70m and of 30m x 44m x 1.75 m, respectively. Direct disposal of OMW on soil takes place at ACTDS-3 every 2–3 days between May and September each year

  • pond soils in inactive sites (INACTS). Two inactive sites were monitored: INACTS-4; INACTS-5 which, have been used for the disposal of OMW for 20 years but for the last 8 years are inactive. The dimensions of the inactive ponds at INACTS-4 site are 24m x17m x1.75 m. and at INACTS-5 site are 28m x 6m x 1.30m
  • river site (RS) located at the downstream of the active site with surface disposal of OMW. Soil samples along the river banks were collected and analyzed in order to assess potential of water pollutionandnutrient losses pollution, from soils of the upper hill slopes, through runoff or downward leaching.

Olive Mills Wastes (OMW) were collected from the three mills of the area (three-phase) and analyzed for pH; electrical conductivity; total organic carbon; BOD; COD; total Kjeldahl N; NH4+; total phenols; Mg; Ca; total P; total K; Na; Cl-; NO3-; SO42-; PO43-; Cu; Fe; Zn; Mn; Ni; Cr; Mo.

During the six sampling campaigns, 505 soil samples and 5 wastes samples were collected, while 16,120 analyses were conducted.

One more sampling campaign was performed in June 2011 in areas close and far from the pilot Municipality in order to (1) confirm the evaluation results as far as the risk potential of the OMW disposal areas, and (2) identify potential Ni and Cr pollution of soils due to OMW uncontrolled disposal, issue that arose during the main soil campaign.

Moreover, eleven drillings were performed (six from SSIA and 5 by TUC) in order to assess the possibility of pollutants transfer to deeper soil horizons as well as, which of the soil parameters are most likely to be affected in higher depth. Piezometers were installed by TUC in 5 drillholes to monitor pore water quality.

Apart from the soil monitoring implemented at the pilot area and in order to assess the effect of uncontrolled disposal of OMW on soil and the risk for ground water contamination, more soil types were studied in laboratory. For this, eight different soil types, representative of Med area, were amended with raw OMW and changes in leachates properties were recorded. Read the main outcomes of the Soil Monitoring Action.

  • Deliverable: Environmental risk assessment of the pilot municipality
  • Deliverable: Set of chemical, biochemical and microbiological parameters to detect contamination by olive oil mills' wastes
  • Deliverable: Soil Monitoring System

ACTION 9. Design and implementation of a monitoring system for water bodies quality at pilot municipality (TUC)

In the line of Action 9, a carefully designed monitoring system has been implemented in the project area to monitor the quality of all existing water bodies including surface streams and groundwater. After 22 sampling campaigns in total, carried out bi-monthly between May 2009 and December 2012, water samples have been collected from surface streams, springs, water supply pipes and old wells. Water samples have been also collected from piezometers installed in 5 drillholes (1 of these is used as control) in the wider affected area. Drilling and installation of piezometers took place in the first week of November 2010. Monitoring of pore water quality was carried out every two months in the period February 2011 and December 2012 (12 sampling campaigns in total). Representative water samples have been also collected from four existing water abstraction wells. The parameters measured in situ include pH, electrical conductivity and dissolved oxygen; other parameters measured in the laboratory include COD, phenols, tannic acid, bicarbonate and total hardness, TOC, NO3-, SO42-, PO43-, NH3-N and elements such as Ni, Cr, Mn, Cl, K, Fe, Cu and Zn. Read the main outcomes of the Water Monitoring Action here.

  • Deliverable: Environmental risk assessment of the pilot municipality-Water bodies
  • Deliverable: Minitoring System for water bodies

ACTION 10. Controlled use of liquid and solid wastes in tree-land fertilization (CERSAA)

The action began on 1 October 2009 and was successfully completed during the foreseen period. The main objective was to evaluate the potential effects of wastes application on tree-land fertilization, the development of useful guide for the safe use of mills’ wastes in tree lands (olive trees) and the development of rapid methods of wastes analyses which can be used in field.

A pilot scale experimentation site of around 1.500 m2 for the controlled use of OMWW for tree land fertilization was set up at CeRSAA’s premises. Around 200 two-years-old olive tree plants belonging to 3 different local varieties (Taggiasca, Pignola, Leccino) were transplanted. Two different kind of OMWW (deriving from a discontinuous and a continuous extraction system) were distributed.

A drainage system was set up before plant transplanting, digging trenches of about 1 m depth and then positioning 10 cm diameter drainage tubes covered by a polyethylene tissue. 10 meters tubes were placed so to be connected at two opposite sites of the wells (5 totally), which have been used to collect leachate for subsequent analysis. In order to carry out the distribution of OMWW in the pilot area an hanging (50 cm above ground surface) dripline system was set up using Netafim Uniram pressure compensated tubes (normally used in the agricultural sector for the distribution of water or the application of liquid fumigants).

Distribution of OMWs (OMWW and husks) was carried out in 2010 and 2011. Olive husks were distributed only in 2011. The control treatment is represented by water. Amount distributed in the pilot area were chosen in consideration of the following: 1. the soil texture, 2. the young age of plants, 3. the purpose to avoid severe interference with plant correct growth and/or heavy phytotoxic effect which could have significantly compromised the trials foreseen.

Before distribution, an extensive survey of OMWW was carried out during olive season 2009-2010 at the 2 different olive mills: 1) Terre del Barone located in Borghetto S.S. municipality (Savona province, Liguria Region, Italy) which uses a three phases extraction method; 2) Maffei located in Orco Feglino (Savona province, Liguria Region, Italy) which uses a traditional discontinuous extraction method based on millstone and pressing columns.

COD and BOD5 expressed as mg O2/ml and total oily matter expressed as g/l were monitored during a 4 months period between November 2009 and February 2010 in samples collected from continuous and discontinuous extraction systems. On the whole 170 analysis were carried out regarding 34 samples collected. A survey about OMWW distributed, leachates collected in the wells and soil sampled in the different plots and two different depths was carried out between the beginning of 2010 and July 2011. Read the main outcomes of the Action here.

  • Deliverable: List of validated methods for olive oil wastes analysis (Delivered)
  • Deliverable: Guidelines for safe use of OOM wastes for crop production

ACTION 11. Laboratory experiments-Bioremediation (CEBAS)

The action began on 1/10/2009 and was completed according to the timetable on 30/6/2010. The main objective was to perform microcosm experiments in order to establish the effectiveness of landfarming for bioremediating soils contaminated with olive oil mills´ wastes and to optimize this bioremediation technique in order to be implemented at the pilot area of the project.

Bioremediation of soil contaminated with olive oil mill wastes by landfarming is a very competitive and low cost technology. A background study and characterization of polluted areas are necessary before landfarming implementation in pilot plots. Thus, CEBAS evaluated all available data regarding soil quality parameters and waste production details collected and sent by SSIA. During the 1st Monitoring Committee meeting, the Beneficiaries selected two polluted areas with priority for the bioremediation in base to the risk of pollution distribution and their high polyphenol content. The selected sampling points belong to the: (a) NF4 disposal area (large disposal area with two evaporation ponds where apart of disposal in ponds, the owner disposes wastes on the surface soil, and (b) to the inactive, for more than 6 years, NF6 area. A total of 5 samples were collected from these two areas: one sample and one control from NF4; one waste sample from the mill that dispose wastes at NF4 area; one sample and one control from the inactive NF6 area. Samples were air-dried and mailed to Spanish working team.

The treatments that were assayed are: i) No treatment (natural attenuation); ii) Aeration; iii) Aeration plus nutrient addition; iv) Aeration plus microorganisms and enzyme inoculation; v) Aeration plus compost addition. In the treatment iv), we decide to amend the soil with a dose (200 mg C kg-1 soil) of the humic extract of a compost obtained in Spain using a two phase olive mill waste (TPOMW) as raw material. We also decide to add that compost to soil samples at an equivalent dose of 300 t ha-1 in order to assay the above mentioned treatment v).  The soil parameters that were measured, apart from polyphenol concentration, were: pH, electrical conductivity, enzyme activities, assay of phytotoxicity effect (germination seed experiment) and ecotoxicity, measured by the effect observed on luminescent bacteria, will be carried out.

In an additional experiment, the porous material (zeolite) of Action 12, which was being implemented by SSIA, was used as soil additives in order to study if their presence enhances the biodegradation process. In this second experiment, the treatment applied to the selected soils (4.18, 4.19, 6.1 and 6.2) were four: i) No treatment (natural attenuation); ii) Aeration; iii) Aeration plus zeolite addition; and, iv) Zeolite addition.

In January 2010, CEBAS received the soil and olive mill wastewater (OMWW) samples for lab bioremediation experiment from SSIA. Soil samples NF 4.19 and 6.1 (contaminated soils from both areas) and NF 4.18 and 6.2 (control soils from the respective areas) were homogenized by 2-mm sieving and analyzed in order to determine the concentration both of polyphenols and some chemical elements. Chemical analysis results are included in the progress reports (see web site at partners area>progress reports). A very interesting result is the Ni concentrations of the soils; in all cases, they were higher than the limit values proposed both by the EU in the 3rd draft of the Working Document on Sludge (European Commission, 2000) or in the Directive about the use of sewage sludge in agricultural soil (86/278/CEE) and the Spanish Ministry of Environment (Royal Decree 1310/1990) and could come from the steel of metallic machinery used in the olive oil production.

The experimental design has foreseen the preparation of 60 plastic containers with 250 g of soil and the application of the above mentioned treatments in triplicate to the 4.19- and 6.1-polluted soils (Figures 1-8 of the respective Annex). The nomenclature for each treatment is shown in Table 1 of the respective Annex. After a pre-incubation soil sample during 2 weeks, a fresh OMWW was added to soil. The dose of OOMW added was equivalent to 500 m3 ha-1 that represents 10 times the maximum dose that Italian legislation permits for the use of this kind of wastes in soil irrigation. Soil samples were collected from the different microcosms for the different analysis programmed, at 15 days before the fresh soil spiking with fresh OMWW (T0) and 3 days after then (T1). Moreover, soil samples were collected at the following time periods after T1 sampling time: i) after 15 days (T2); ii) after one month (T3); and iii) after two month (T4).

In the second experiment performed to assay the effect of zeolite on the bioremediation of soil contaminated with OMWW the dose of zeolite was 30% weight basis.

In order to achieve the Action’s objectives and develop and deliver a suitable bioremediation technique for the project’s disposal area, CEBAS fulfilled a series of actions and studies. Read the main outcomes of the Action here.

  • Deliverable: A guide for the application of bioremediation at large scale.
  • Deliverable: Description of a suitable low cost remediation technique for contaminated soil due to OOM wastes disposal
  • Deliverable: Financial and Technical evaluation of demonstration action.

ACTION 12. Laboratory experiments-Use of porous materials (SSIA)

The Action began on 1st October 2009 and was successfully completed on 30th June 2010, according to the project timetable. The aim was to optimize the technique of using porous materials as soil additives in order to protect and further improve soil quality at OMW disposal areas. Read the main outcomes of the Action here.

  • Deliverable: Report of best application method of porous materials at olive oil mills' disposal areas
  • Deliverable: A guide for the use of porous materials as soil additives at larger scale

ACTION 13. Pretreatment of OOM wastes (TUC)

In the frame of Action 13 a feasible and integrated low cost OMW pre-treatment methodology using various reactive agents has been developed in order to be applied in small olive mills that are mainly family businesses and widely dispersed in the Mediterranean region. The pre-treatment methodology was optimized in large laboratory scale prior to the implementation in field. Field tests were carried out in the line of Action 14 in the period November 2011-April 2012.

Several pre-treatment options have been developed in large laboratory scale (reactor, laboratory column, funnel, steel corrosion and cultivation tests). The objectives of these tests include:

  • Removal of oils, paste and total solids (TS) contained in OMW
  • Increase of pH and precipitation of contaminants
  • Decrease of COD and phenols concentration
  • Sorption of organic contaminants on various reactive materials
  • Decolourization of OMW
  • Improvement of the quality of the leachates infiltrating towards deeper soil horizons and groundwater
  • Use of the pre-treated OMW for irrigation

Raw OMW that was used in laboratory and field tests was obtained from a three phase olive mill operating at Agios Konstantinos village, Rethymno prefecture, Crete, with an average annual production of 2000 m3 OMW. Various materials, including goat manure, zero valent iron, iron fillings, saw dust, Ca(OH)2, industrial lime, FeSO4.7H2O, magnesite by-products, natural zeolite, limestone and activated carbon were used in OMW pre-treatment experiments. Most of these materials are low cost, by-products of other industrial processes and are abundant in Crete and other parts of Greece.

Main outputs

Based on the experimental results a flowsheet for OMW pre-treatment (three different options) has been proposed and also the effects of pre-treated OMW on spinach and beetroot growth have been studied.

Centrifugation and saw dust addition (2 g/L of OMW) are considered as important initial stages since they contribute to the removal of most oil and solids and improve solid/liquid (S/L) separation and the efficiency of the following stages, reducing thus consumption of reagents. Parameters such as pH, phenols concentration, BOD and COD removal are not affected by centrifugation, as anticipated, but 20% TS removal is obtained within 5 min. The recovered oil (around 3% w/w of the feed) can be further treated and potentially used for the production of other products such as lubricants, preservatives and cosmetics.

Addition of 7 g/L FeSO4.7H2O in the following stage of the first pre-treatment option results in coagulation and cumulative removal of TS up to 35% w/w. As shown in the following stage, addition of 10 g/L Ca(OH)2 provides alkalinity in the system (pH increases from 4.7 to almost 8) and also results in significant removal of phenols and COD (up to 65% and 30%, respectively). Finally, addition of iron fillings (10 g/L) and 10% v/v H2O2 (30% w/w) results in an additional 60% phenols removal. Iron fillings can be easily recovered and re-used for several times until exhaustion.

The second pre-treatment option involving liming with 10 g/L Ca(OH)2 and addition of 30 g/L Ca(ClO)2 results in 98% phenols removal and decolourization of OMW. TS and BOD are also substantially removed.

In the third pre-treatment option, OMW was filtered through a 20 cm goat manure substrate after a retention period of 8 days and the quality of the final liquid is substantially improved (pH~6.5, phenols and COD removal by 90% and 25%, respectively). These results indicate that goat manure, which is available in large quantities in Cretan agricultural areas, may be considered as potential substrate in evaporation ponds that is able to reduce the volume and improve the quality of the generated leachates and thus minimize the risk for soil and groundwater contamination.

All three pre-treatment options resulted in the production of OMW with rather similar quality. The precipitates (sludge) collected after each treatment stage may be used for the production of compost, after mixing with other agricultural wastes such as straw, tree branches and olive leaves, provided that phytotoxicity tests are carried out prior to its use as soil amendment.

In order to assess the quality of the pre-treated OMW as well as study its effect on plant growth, laboratory tests were carried out using spinach and beetroot; these tests were not included in the original proposal and were carried out at no additional cost. The results have shown that low OMW application rates (4L/m2) have rather limited effect on spinach and beetroot growth, at least for the cultivation period considered (6 months); when higher OMW application rates are considered (10 or 20 L/m2) plant growth is more adversely affected, especially for beetroot.

Optimized OMW pre-treatment was thereafter implemented in the field with slight modifications. Centrifugation of OMW, which enables fast oil and paste precipitation, was not implemented in the pilot area due to the lack of equipment (a centrifuge of this size is quite expensive). The OMW pre-treatment stages in the field are described in detail in the following section 5.1.13.

  • Deliverable: Report on the design and operation of a prototype waste pre-treatment system
  • Deliverable: A guide for the application of the waste pre-treatment system in the pilot area

ACTION 14. Pilot-scale application and evaluation of the soil protective - remedial technology (SSIA)

The pilot scale application began on 1 July 2010 and it was completed on 30 November 2012; nine months later than the initially foreseen end day (i.e. 31/3/2012).

The aim of the action was to demonstrate at field level all the techniques developed in lab scale, i.e. soil remediation (based on results of actions 11 and 12), pre-treatment of OMW (based on action 13); and finally composting (based on already scientific experience and on the results of the wastes chemical analyses). One more action that it was proposed and accepted by the EC, which, however, was not foreseen in the initial proposal, was the application of pre-treated wastes for lettuce cultivation and evaluation of effects on the production and on soil. The last action was proposed since it was considered as highly important to study and propose an integrated strategy, i.e. pre-treatment of wastes in field and subsequent use of treated wastes on soil or for crop cultivation. 

Results of Action 8 and 9 were also considered when developing and implementing all demonstration actions. Read the main outcomes of the Action here.

  • Deliverable: Benefits of soil remedial/protective technique
  • Deliverable: Guidelines for composting procedure at a small practical scale
  • Deliverable: Benefits of waste pre-treatment procedure in pilot scale
  • Deliverable:Financial and Technical evaluation of the demonstration actions

ACTION 15. Integrated approach of actions, measures and means suitable for Mediterranean region-Analysis of national and European legislative frameworks (CEBAS)

One of the objectives of this Action was the implementation of an Analysis of national and European legislative frameworks for Olive Oil Waste and Soil Protection. The principal points discussed in the delivered report are:

  • Olive oil industry and the environment
  • EU and national legislation on waste, water and soil
  • Legislative recommendations for olive oil waste management
    • Particularities of olive industry:
      • Olive mills are family businesses and small-scale enterprises.
      • Seasonal production of wastes and their variable character of the residue.
      • The quantity of wastewater generated in olive oil processing, in many cases is extremely small in comparison to other commercial industrial operations
    • Statutory legislation proposal for olive oil waste management
      • Untreated waste/wastewater disposal into the environment should be strictly banned
      • Irrespectively if is dangerous or not, the waste/wastewater should be treated before any disposal to land/surface waters
      • As olive oil waste is potentially hazardous the legislation should provide statutory limits, especially on phenols,
      • The legislative act should clearly specify that the waste should be analysed Standard sampling and analytical procedures, harmonised at EU level, could be introduced.
      • There should be a categorization of production industries according to their production capacity and/or waste generation in order to draw specific measures for waste management
      • In case evaporation ponds are used, the minimum requirement should be the use of protective layers (engineered evaporation ponds).
      • As landspreading is a common and low-cost practice, specific regulations should be developed.
      • In case of landspreading and under the condition that the olive oil waste/wastewater fulfills the requirements of the existing legislation, the OMW could be considered fertilizer and thus, annual dose estimation should follow the general rules of soil fertilization considering soil properties and purpose of use.
      • On the reuse of treated wastewater for irrigation of agricultural lands, application guidelines should be developed in order to provide a common level of environmental and public health protection
      • If olive oil waste (OOW) is considered as waste national law should allow it to be treated as municipal waste when produced by smaller olive mills
      • The EC Commission should provide technical specifications on the conditions for using olive oil waste (OOW) as a by-product regardless of their economic value and regardless of the possible need of a drying phase and/or not removal
      • National laws should be brought in line with this new concept of by-product namely the part that still provides for the economic value of by-products as a requirement (as in the case of the Italian law)
      • The regulations should take onto account (a) the use of the land (b) the soil type and (c) the period of reuse.
      • OMWs are usually discharged in small stream catchments.  For this fact, there is a need for including small streams into monitoring and assessment schemes as small streams contribute to the pollution load of the river basin.
      • EQSs should be set in a EU Directive in the same way that is done for water bodies, at least as minimum requirements per soil type. The threshold for pollutants (as phenols) concentrations in soil could be set in such values as to reflect existing soil maximum background concentrations in natural undisturbed soils.
      • ELVs should be provided in national legislation as in the case of Italy and Spain but as the local conditions should be taken into account regional regulations should be also adopted as in the case of Greece
      • More favorable national laws should be introduced for obtaining permits for facilities producing energy from biomass
    • Volunteer legislation proposals
      • Support of technology change to 2-phase process for minimization of waste/wastewater. When utilizing the 2-phase system the fresh water consumption is reduced and also the wastewater streams are eliminated
      • Introduce laws that expressly facilitate initiatives for municipalities to build installations in the scope of their local public services, also based on regional agreements with olive mills and with other parties that would significantly contribute to providing biomass for energy production and other uses
      • National law should expressly provide that, in the absence of adequate private initiative, municipalities are able to build such facilities and operate them within the scope of their local public services
      • The Integrated Pollution Prevention and Control, Reference Document on Best Available Techniques in the, Food, Drink and Milk Industries, Chapter on Olive Oil industry should be amended including the recent advances on waste management in the sector. In the same way, National BREFs on olive oil production should be prepared in the interested countries, covering all industrial units (IPPC and non-IPPC)
      • Promotion of the establishment of collective/cetralised treatment systems
  • Soil protection from the risk of olive mill waste water disposal
    • Statutory legislation proposals
      • Recording Olive Oil Mills Waste disposal areas
      • Characterization of disposal areas-Risk assessment
      • Evaluation of risk level
      • Defining the conditions of OMW soil disposal
      • Adoption of soil quality indicators
      • Monitoring soil indicators-Evaluation of the results
    • Technical recommendations and guidelines
      • Measures for continuous monitoring of OMW disposal areas
      • Soil remedial technologies appropriate for OMW disposal areas 

The report delivered is considered very significant; since it integrates all PROSODOL activities and finally satisfies the main objective of the LIFE call namely “ENVIRONMENT POLICY AND GOVERNANCE”.

The analysis clearly indicates the need for certain provisions in the EU legislation in order to valorise this waste as by-product and in the same time to protect the EU soils from adverse pollution.

The legislative and policy recommendations were based on the particularities of olive oil industry in the Mediterranean area. The proposed approach is to start from an objective reconstruction of the legal framework on waste management and accommodate it to the particularities of the olive oil waste.

All the aforementioned are included in the deliverable of the action:

The deliverable was translated in Spanish, in Italian and in Greek.  

The integration, after financial and technical evaluation, will result in an efficient strategy suitable for Med countries. Restrictions and conditions will be also considered and recorded. Solutions or alternative scenarios will be proposed, if needed.

ACTION 16. Dissemination-Spain (CEBAS)

The Spanish dissemination plan is divided into four parts of activities: dissemination to national stakeholders, dissemination in the Mediterranean region, dissemination to national authorities, and international dissemination.



  • Deliverables : Proceedings and informative material of workshops and of the final conference (continuously delivered)

ACTION 17. Dissemination-Italy (CERSAA)

The Italian dissemination plan is divided into four parts of activities: dissemination to national stakeholders, dissemination in the Mediterranean region, dissemination to national authorities, and international dissemination.

  • Deliverables : Proceedings and informative material of workshops and of the final conference (continuously delivered)

ACTION 18. Dissemination-Greece (SSIA)

The Greek dissemination plan is divided into four parts of activities: dissemination to national stakeholders, dissemination in the Mediterranean region, dissemination to national authorities, and international dissemination.

  • Deliverables : Proceedings and informative material of workshops and of the final conference (continuously delivered)

ACTION 19 Project Monitoring (SSIA)

Project Monitoring will last 48 months (entire duration of the project) and aims to measure and document the effectiveness of the project actions as compared to initial situation, objectives, expected results and environmental impacts.

ACTION 20. After-LIFE Communication Plan (TUC)

An after-LIFE Communication Plan will be developed, since it is important the continuous dissemination to be guaranteed. Thus, a plan will be developed to ensure the dissemination and potential implementation of project's achievements, through stakeholders and mainly through Agricultural Associations, which are in position to distribute information and knowledge among their members.