INTRODUCTION TO PALM OIL MILL EFFLUENT [POME]
Malaysia, which possessed more than 500 palm oil mills, had been listed as one of the largest producers of palm oil in the world. The palm oil industry is a primary agricultural for our economy. However, the concomitant production of highly polluting palm oil mill effluent, as known as POME, has resulted negative effect of environmental hazards. In the industrial process of converting the harvested oil palm fruit into crude palm oil, large amount of water is consumed by palm oil mill. Consequently, the consumed water would turn into POME which is basically liquid waste that combined with the wastes from sterilizer condensate and cooling water. POME is the single largest source of industrial waste water pollution in Malaysia. POME is oily waste water that had been generated by palm oil processing mills and consists of various suspended components. It is usually discarded in disposal ponds, resulting in the leaching of contaminants, whereas going to pollute the soil and also groundwater. Besides, it will also release methane gas into the atmosphere. Characteristics of POME depend on the quality of the raw material and palm oil production processes in palm oil mills. It has been estimated that 5-7.5 tonnes of water is required for producing 1 tonne of crude palm oil and more than half of the water will ends up as POME. POME has a very high Biochemical Oxygen Demand (BOD) and Chemical Oxygen Demand (COD), which is hundred times more than municipal sewage. The raw or partially treated of POME has an extremely high content of degradable organic matter. As no chemical were added during the oil extraction process, it is identified as a major source of aquatic pollution by depleting dissolved oxygen when discharge untreated into the water bodies even if its major behavior is non toxic. Anaerobic digestion is widely accepted as an effective method for the treatment of POME. It could hardly produce effluents that comply with...
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