Engineering HDR Seminar Series 15, 2013: Treatment of Palm Oil Mill Effluent (POME) using Vermifiltration and Phytoremediation

Ms Katrina Shak, Chemical Engineering postgraduate student

Date: 2013-03-26
Time: 10:00 to 11:00
Venue: Engineering Meeting Room 1, 5-4-22


With the uprising economy in palm oil production, especially in Malaysia, an estimated figure of at least 16 million tonnes of crude oil was produced in 2009. As a result, it poses a concern to the environmental well-being of watercourses due to the discharge of its wastewater known as palm oil mill effluent (POME). Noted for its potential to treat organically polluted water in past studies, vermifiltration could be an ecological and environmentally integrated alternative to treat POME. In this study, the feasibility of applying vermifiltration combined with phytoremediation as an alternative to treat POME will be investigated. The wastewater was pre-treated via coagulation-flocculation method with the aid of Cassia seed gum as a natural flocculant to reduce the initial contaminant load. In addition, response surface methodology will be performed for optimization of treatment parameter in coagulation-flocculation method. In the main treatment process, pre-treated POME was channelled for further treatment in vermifiltration. The proposed research will involve study of phytoremediation combined with vermifiltration as methods for treatment of POME using plants such as Cyperus rotundus, Saccharum spontaneumand Juncus effusus as phytoremediators. This study could serve as a guide to an emerging method for POME treatment.

About the Speaker

Katrina Shak graduated with Bachelor of Engineering (Chemical Engineering with Honours) from Monash University Sunway Campus in 2012. She joined Monash University in the same year for postgraduate studies under the supervision of Dr Wu Ta Yeong and Dr Charles Clarke. Her research focus is on integrated treatment of palm oil mill effluent (POME) through vermifiltration and phytoremediation.