In this study, following the pre-treatment of olive mill wastewater (OMW), its treatment in a jet loop membrane bioreactor (ILMBR) was investigated. Among the pre-treatment options, the configuration composed of physical settling, cartridge filter and ceramic membrane showed the best performance in terms of investigated parameters. For the JLMBR that was fed by pretreated OMW, up to 93 and 87% removal efficiencies were achieved for the chemical oxygen demand (COD) and total phenol, respectively, at volumetric organic load (VOL) of 17.8 kg COD/m(3) day. The calculated specific oxygen uptake rate (SOUR) values were in the range 7.7-34.7 g O-2/kg MLVSS h. When even hydraulic retention times (HRT) values decreased by a factor of 1:24, system performance in terms of COD and total phenol removal remained almost stable. Decreasing the sludge retention time (SRT) to three days made considerable perturbations for the system performance, increasing the effluent COD and total phenol values in 900 and 80 mg/L, respectively. The JLMBR showed a high overall performance for the treatment of an actual OMW under the evaluated operational conditions. (C) 2016 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.