There are a number of effluent treatment systems available now in the market claiming to give excellent results. This could be a valid claim because in most cases it would have performed satisfactorily with other types of effluents. But the problem often overlooked is the dissimilar characteristics of different types of effluents. Each treatment system has to be separately evolved and custom made to be effective. It could be a costly mistake if we blindly adopt a system with a proven track record of effluent treatment when dealing with another industry. One of the critical characteristics of palm oil mill effluent is its extraordinarily high biochemical oxygen demand (BOD), that can be as high as 30 000 mg litre-1. Currently, most mills are struggling to keep it below the existing Department of Environment (DOE) limit of 100 mg litres-1. Soon this will have to be lowered to 20 mg litres-1 to keep pace with the rest of the world. Recently, a new method called the biological chemical mechanical and membrane (BCMM) technology has been tried out under R&,D in MPOB Palm Oil Mill Technology Centre (August 2010 – February 2011) and in FELDA’s Kilang Sawit Neram (January – August 2012), that seemed to deliver consistent results under the normal mill operating conditions.
Keywords: palm oil mill effluent (POME), BIOCHEMICAL OXYGEN DEMAND (BOD), BIOLOGICAL CHEMICAL MECHANICAL and MEMBRANE (BCMM), MPOB PUBLICATIONS