Innovation: Strategies To Improve And Protect Soil Quality From The Disposal Of Olive Mills Wastes (OMW) In The Mediterranean Region

Last update: 25.07.2013
Approved by
Is this your eco-innovation?
Update here.
Ready to use
Case studies in: 
olive mill wastes‚ soil degradation, soil remediation, soil monitoring, pollution prevention‚ environmental impact assessment‚ soil indicators, omw, wastes pre-treatment
The olive oil extraction industry is important for the Mediterranean region. Spain, Italy and Greece are the largest olive oil producers in the world. In the Mediterranean, most of the olive oil mills (OOM) are small domestic enterprises scattered around the country, with owners that are not well informed on the environmental risks of this activity or on the available alternative waste treatment solutions. They are often unwilling to bear extra costs for such alternatives.The physical/chemical characteristics and the polyphenolic content of OOM effluents pose serious threats to the environment. There is a need to identify and study potentially contaminated sites, document them in special national registries (of contaminated sites) and suggest and implement integrated technologies and practices that aim to recover the quality of affected systems, while simultaneously gaining the acceptance and confidence of stakeholders and local communities. The application of soil protection/remedial methods could lead to soil remediation and/or to development and restoration of its functions.

All foresaw activities were implemented at two demonstration-pilot areas; one in Greece and one in Italy. The Greek demonstration area is located in the municipality of Rethymnon (former Municipality of Nikiforos Fokas), in the north of Rethymnon prefecture, Crete.The second implementation site of the project was set up in Liguria Region, Italy where young olive trees were grown under controlled conditions and with the addition of specific amounts of OMW during experimentations aiming to the identification of the optimum conditions for OMW use at olive trees orchards.

PROSODOL resulted in ready-to-be-used outcomes mostly related to the monitoring of soil quality at OMW disposal areas, to the development and implementation of soil remedial techniques at OMW disposal areas, wastes pre-treatment and legislative recommendations to policy makers.


The project’s overall objectives were
- to develop and disseminate innovative, environment friendly, low cost technologies for the protection of soil and water from pollution caused by the disposal of olive oil mills’ wastes, to design;
- implement and support a monitoring system for the assessment of soil and water quality affected directly or indirectly from mills’ activities in relation to factors pressures and responses;
- to identify potential safest uses of mills’ wastes in the agricultural sector and to establish an info-library/knowledge base system to assess environmental impacts from olive oil mills’ wastes to Mediterranean region.
The PROSODOL project seeks to protect soil and water quality from olive oil mills’ wastes in the Mediterranean region with the aim of contributing to the sustainable development of the olive oil producing industry.

In this framework, the project focused on:
1. the establishment of an info-library with a lot of information regarding Olive Oil Production and OMW management in the Mediterranean. The info-library is available from the web site of the project ( in four languages (English, Greek, Spanish and Italian). The library provides information regarding:
• Olive oil mills’ activities, places of activities, volume and type of wastes, disposal type, soil pollution extent, existing studies of regional pollution, 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.
• Methods of water chemical analyses
• Water monitoring systems, strategies developed and applied, chemical analyses methods
• Water remedial/protective methods have been applied or can be potentially applied, results, benefits, required equipment and cost.
• OMW management strategies in relation with environmental impacts.
• Waste treatment technologies which have been applied or can be potentially applied, case/pilot studies have been funded, economical data of the application, required equipment and operational cost, benefits, social acceptance and extent of adoption.
• Methods of olive oil wastes chemical analyses.
• Methods for solid wastes treatment applied so far, or investigated and applied in pilot scale, benefits, composting technology, equipment and cost, economical data.
• Bioremediation.
2. the design and implementation of a monitoring system to assess soil and water quality at areas where the many years disposal of untreated olive oil wastes characterizes them as highly risky sites, aiming to develop methodologies and procedures, capable to identify soil/water quality parameters and extent of pollution over time and to provide national authorities with effective tools, useful for the control of such areas.
3. the identification of a set of soil parameters, suitable to be used as soil quality indicators to assess soil quality at OMW disposal areas.
4. the evaluation of the potential effects of wastes application on tree-land fertilization and the development of a useful guide for the safe use of mills’ wastes in the agricultural sector.
5. the development of rapid methods of wastes analyses which can be used in field and in mills
6. the development and implementation of soil remedial and protective technologies. Among the several protective/remedial methods for polluted or degraded soils, bioremediation and natural zeolite addition in soil were selected, conformed to the specific environmental conditions and implemented in a pilot field.
7. the development and implementation of low cost methodologies for OMW pre-treatment at field scale with the use of low-cost reactive agents, such as metallic iron, manure and zeolites.
8. the identification of optimum conditions for OMW composting with the use of clinoptilolite (natural zeolite) as additive.
9. the development of an integrated scenario, financially and technically evaluated, suitable for OMW disposal areas, which includes soil protection/remediation, recycling of the wastes by composting and the cost effective pre-treatment of wastes in order the toxic substances to be reduced.
10. The development of an integrated approach of actions, measures and means suitable for the Mediterranean region.
11. the dissemination of project’s achievements so that the knowledge gained to be actively communicated to those stakeholders that may best make use of it and apply the lessons learnt from the project.
The project resulted in ready-to-be-used outcomes.
In specific:

Risk assessments and monitoring tools
1. Soil and Water Risk Assessment Studies for areas that accept OMW disposal
2. A set of soil quality indicators to detect and assess contamination by olive oil mills’ wastesDevelopment of a methodology to monitor soil quality by implementing Electric Tomography and Magnetic Susceptibility measurements
3. A List of validated innovative methods for olive oil wastes analysis to measure BOD and COD rapidly, even at mill level
4. A GIS-based soil monitoring tool, web-available Soil remediation

Soil remediation
1. Development and implementation of two soil remedial techniques (bioremediation and use of natural zeolites as soil additives), suitable for OMW disposal areas (it has to be mentioned that such specific remedial methodologies , i.e. for OMW disposal areas have never been developed in the past)
2. Scientific, Financial and Technical evaluation of the implemented soil remedial techniques-Extension to other Med countries

Wastes exploitation and pre-treatment
1. Guidelines for safe use of OOM wastes for crop production
2. Guidelines on the design and operation of a prototype waste pre-treatment system that can be implemented at mill level
3. Guidelines for composting procedure at a small practical scale

1. Integrated Strategy of actions, measures and means for Mediterranean countries to address the problem of the uncontrolled disposal of OMWs.

We are sorry. There is currently no information available in this section.

This innovation is the result of the project

Title: Strategies To Improve And Protect Soil Quality From The Disposal Of Olive Mills Wastes In The Mediterranean Region


01.01.2009 to 31.12.2012

completed project

Organisations and people involved in this eco-innovation.

Please click on an entry to view all contact details.



Role in project: Project Coordination

Contact person: DOULA Maria


Phone: +30 210 2832031



Field: Agriculture, Scientific research and development, Waste collection, treatment and disposal activities, Education (Spain)

Role in project: Associated partner

Contact person: Dr. MORENO ORTEGO Jose Luis


Phone: +34-968396262



Field: Agriculture, Scientific research and development, Education, Provision of services to the community (Italy)

Role in project: Associated partner

Contact person: Dr. TINIVELLA Federico


Phone: +39-0182554949



Field: ICT & Media, Scientific research and development, Education (Greece)

Role in project: Associated partner

Contact person: Dr. SARRIS Apostolos


Phone: +30-2831025146



Field: Quarrying, Scientific research and development, Engineering, Education (Greece)

Role in project: Associated partner

Contact person: Prof. KOMNITSAS Konstantinos


Phone: +30-2821037686