Supported development management of olive-oil production in North Alentejo.

LIFE97 ENV/P/000153

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Contact details:

Project Manager: Jaime BELÉM
Tel: 045-36 23 86
Fax: 045-36 21 62

Project description:


Local authorities in the Alentejo region wanted to pursue a joint approach to solving environmental problems in the region through creating effective partnerships between the public and private sectors. One of these key problem areas was seen to be systematic treatment of waste effluents produced by the olive oil presses, responsible for severe pollution of the ground water supplies. The pattern up till then had been each municipality developing its individual solutions, many of which did not alleviate the environmental damage caused by these waste products and lost the opportunity for transforming them into value-added for the region. The project was developed as a means to bring together the experience of the different municipalities, from both public and private sectors and to jointly forge a solution to these effluent problems.


The purpose of the project was to test out the viability of creating a collective waste treatment system for olive-press effluents in the region. Starting from the base of a detailed evaluation of current plants in operation, the project would aim to involve all the main stakeholders: olive-press owners, farmers, local administration etc in the design and development of joint proposal for a district waste-water treatment network in the region. This treatment network would aim to provide economies of scale which would enable a centralized approach to an effective treatment of the effluents from the olive-presses. It was intended that a pilot plant would be established as part of the project’s activities.


The project was able to carry out the initial phases of a detailed study of integrated approaches to the treatment of effluents from olive-presses. These findings were then raised with the main stakeholders through a series of initial meetings. However, a major setback to the regional LIFE project was caused by the decision of the Farmers Confederation to sign a national agreement with the Ministry for the Environment for a 2 year study on existing conditions in the treatment plants, allowing them an extension until the end of 1999 to fulfil the conditions of the legislation. This decision affected the viability of the current LIFE project, by removing any incentive on behalf of the main stakeholders to develop an immediate local solution. As a result it was not possible to complete the project and the grant was partially recuperated.


Environmental issues addressed:


Waste - Industrial waste
Industry-Production - Food and Beverages


integrated management‚  waste treatment‚  public-private partnership‚  edible fat

Target EU Legislation

  • Water
  • Directive 91/271 - Urban waste water treatment (21.05.1991)
  • Waste
  • COM(1996)399 - Communication on an updated "Community strategy for waste management" (30.07.1996) ...

Natura 2000 sites

Not applicable



Coordinator Associação de Municipios do Norte Alentejano
Type of organisation Local authority
Description The Alentejo Municipalities Association was formed on the 3rd June 1992, to represent the interests of all the local authorities in the Alentejo Region in Central Portugal. Its brief was to pursue common concerns and to develop joint strategies and activities amongst the different municipalities. This has entailed the development of a number of region-wide initiatives including a joint solid waste treatment system and coordination over the management of the water and sanitation supply.


Project reference LIFE97 ENV/P/000153
Duration 01-SEP-1997 to 01-MAR -1999
Total budget 692,186.89 €
EU contribution 189,684.86 €
Project location Alentejo(Portugal)


Read more:

Publication Title: Final Report Author: Alentejo Local Authorities Association Year: 1999


Project description   Environmental issues   Beneficiaries   Administrative data   Read more   Print   PDF version