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Fate and effects of olestra, a fat substitute, during conventional wastewater treatment

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This study assessed the tretability of olestra, an edible oil and shortening replacement, during conventional wastewater treatment using laboratory and bench-scale testing. Results showed removal efficiencies for primary treatment to be similar to suspended solids removal (typically ranging from 45 to 65%) and removal during secondary activated sludge treatment to be ∼84%. Overall removal for primary and secondary treatment was estimated to range from 91% to 94%. The removal during treatment occurred primarily by sorption onto wastewater solids and settling during clarification, although some olestra was removed by biodegradation. Olestra exhibited no adverse effects on total suspended solids (TSS) and chemical oxygen demand (COD) removal during primary or secondary treatment. In addition, olestra caused no adverse effects on sludge dewatering as determined by filtration or gas production during the anaerobic digestion process. Under expected worst-case conditions (that is, assuming that all conventional fat in savory snacks will be replaced with olestra) predicted U.S. average wastewater influent, effluent and 90th percentile receiving water concentrations under mean flow conditions were 4.9, 0.7, and 0.2 mg/L, respectively. The concentration of olestra in anaerobically digested sludge under this worst-case scenario was predicted to be 1 281 mg/L (32.0 g/kg), with a corresponding sludge-amended soil concentration of olestra immediately after sludge application (37 mt/ha) estimated to be 656 mg/kg.
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Keywords: ACTIVATED SLUDGE; DIGESTION; EFTLUENT; FATS; OLESTRA; SLUDGE MANAGEMENT

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 01 March 1996

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    Water Environment Research (WER) publishes peer-reviewed research papers, research notes, state-of-the-art and critical reviews on original, fundamental and applied research in all scientific and technical areas related to water quality, pollution control, and management. An annual Literature Review provides a review of published books and articles on water quality topics from the previous year.

    Published as: Sewage Works Journal, 1928 - 1949; Sewage and Industrial Wastes, 1950 - 1959; Journal Water Pollution Control Federation, 1959 - Oct 1989; Research Journal Water Pollution Control Federation, Nov 1989 - 1991; Water Environment Research, 1992 - present.
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