Earth Science Informatics

, Volume 7, Issue 1, pp 47–58 | Cite as

Multi-scale risk assessment of stream pollution by wastewater of olive oil mills in Kolymvari, Crete

  • Christos G. Karydas
  • Ioannis L. Sarakiotis
  • George C. Zalidis
Research Article


In the streams of the Mediterranean island of Crete (Greece), olive mill wastewater (OMW) has been reported to reduce biodiversity up to 85 %. Mere conduction of impact assessment based on pollutant concentrations, however, cannot reveal how impacted areas may be connected to the pollution sources. In this study, we developed a new methodology which allows for a dynamic cause-effect linking of pollution sources and impacted areas through the pathways of OMW. Risk is hierarchically assessed and mapped at three different scales and more specifically, at the source scale (targeting olive mill units and their waste tanks), at the receptor scale (targeting potential impacted sites in the streams) and at the watershed scale (which is the scale of overall water management). The approach is based mainly on remote sensing data without taking account of groundwater regimes or field measurements. Involvement of local experts for recognizing spatial features of interest and selecting appropriate risk parameters was proved necessary and efficient in order to model the stream pollution risk realistically. Potential impacted sites in the stream network were occasionally verified by a field survey. The results comprise a set of risk maps at the three different scales. The constructed digital geo-database can be updated or modified and thus is considered to be a dynamic tool for future environmental management in the service of the local community.


Olive oil mills OMW Kolymvari Crete Multi-scale risk assessment 



The study was funded by the project ISOTEIA (INTERREG IIIB CADSES, code: 3B093) ( We are thankful to the Municipality of Kolymvari for supplying olive oil mill records and their overall support (special thanks to Ms Eirini Koukoula). Also, we are debt to our local experts for their time.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Christos G. Karydas
    • 1
  • Ioannis L. Sarakiotis
    • 2
  • George C. Zalidis
    • 3
  1. 1.Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, School of Forestry and Natural Environment, Lab of Forest Management and Remote SensingKalamariaGreece
  2. 2.Department of Geoinformatics in Environmental ManagementMediterranean Agronomic Institute of ChaniaChaniaGreece
  3. 3.School of Agriculture, Lab of Remote Sensing and GISAristotle University of ThessalonikiThessalonikiGreece

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