Combined anaerobic digestion of olive oil mill effluent (OME) with swine manure, was investigated. In batch experiments was shown that for anaerobic degradation of OME alone nitrogen addition was needed. A COD:N ratio in the range of 65:1 to 126:1 was necessary for the optimal degradation process. Furthermore, it was found that methane productions rates during digestion of either swine manure alone or OME alone were much lower than the rates achieved when OME and manure were digested together. Admixing OME with manure at a concentration of 5 to 10% OME resulted in the highest methane production rates. Using upflow anaerobic sludge blanket (UASB) reactors, it was shown that codigestion of OME with swine manure (up to 50% OME) was successful with a COD reduction up to 75%. The process was adapted for degradation of OME with stepwise increase of the OME load to the UASB reactor. The results showed that the high content of ammonia in swine manure, together with content of other nutrients, make it possible to degrade OME without addition of external alkalinity and without addition of external nitrogen source. Anaerobic treatment of OME in UASB reactors resulted in reduction of simple phenolic compounds such as mequinol, phenyl ethyl alcohol and ethyl methyl phenol. After anaerobic treatment the concentration of these compounds was reduced between 75 and 100%. However, the concentration of some degradation products such as methyl phenol and ethyl phenol were detected in significantly higher concentrations after treatment, indicating that the process has to be further optimised to achieve satisfactory removal of all xenobiotic compounds.

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