Olive oil production is well distributed among the Mediterranean countries. Different levels of processing technology and different industrial organizations co-exist. The production cycle is seasonal and usually concentrated in the fall-early winter period. The pollution characteristics of this industry are peculiar because the flow rates are relatively small while the pollutant load is extremely high and difficult to abate because of the inherent characteristics of low pH and high concentrations of suspended matter, organic matter and lack of nutrients. The free disposal of such waste waters into the environment, though fairly common practice, has disastrous effects on the soil, on aquatic bodies, sewers and on urban waste water treatment plants. Factory specific pre-treatment is too complex and expensive to be realistically adoptable. A territory integrated solution strategy is therefore preferable and a few treatment schemes have here been presented. The recovery and exploitation of the by-products can be justifiable while a realistic consideration of the local realities must be kept in mind. Research is still required to improve and optimize some phases of treatment.

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