Phytoremediation of Palm Oil Mill Effluent (POME) Using Eichhornia crassipes
It is inevitable that the manufacturing process of palm oil is accompanied by the generation of a massive amount of high strength wastewater, namely palm oil mill effluent (POME), which could pose serious threat to the aquatic environment. POME which contains high organic compounds originating from biodegradable materials causes water pollution if not properly managed. Palm oil industries are facing the challenges to make ends meet in the aspects of natural assurance, financial reasonability and development sustainability. It is therefore crucial to seek a practical solution to achieve the goal of environmental protection while continuing the economic sustainability. Phytoremediation has been proven as a potential method for removal or degradation of various hazardous contaminants. However, research on phytoremediation of POME using Eichhornia crassipes (E. crassipes) is still limited. This study aims to determine the feasibility of applying phytoremediation technique using E. crassipes for POME treatment. The effects of pH, plant:POME ratio and retention time on the biochemical oxygen demand (BOD), chemical oxygen demand (COD) and total suspended solid (TSS) of POME were investigated. The highest BOD removal of 92.6% was achieved after 21 days retention time at pH 4 with plant:POME ratio of 1:20 kg/L. The highest COD removal of 20.7% was achieved after 14 days retention time at pH 6 with plant:POME ratio of 1:20 kg/L. Phytoremediation using E. crassipes was shown to be a promising eco-friendly technique for POME treatment, and is therefore recommended as a good alternative treatment solution for this industrial effluent.
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