Commercial Wastewater: Three Critical Mechanisms for Removing Oil

8 March 2016
 Categories: Environmental, Blog

The dangers of releasing oily water into the environment indiscriminately are obvious. The specific hazards presented will depend on the natural setup into which the wastewater is released. For instance, if the oily material finds its way into water bodies, it will form a layer on top that will limit the amount of oxygen flowing into the water. Consequently, the aquatic life will be suffocated, leading to decrease in biodiversity.

In addition, if oily water flows into a treatment plant, it will compromise the activity of the decomposing bacteria and the process will not be effective. Therefore, if you are opening a new commercial operation such as a food processing plant that will deal with oily water, it is critical to install machinery that will remove oil from your wastewater. Here are the mechanisms that you can choose for your oil-water separation equipment.

Basic Skimming

Basic skimming is an ideal technique for removing oils and grease from waste water. However, this method is reserved for non-emulsified oil, which is oil that floats on top of the water layer. The easiest way to remove the oil is by using an oil-water separator for basic skimming. There are different configurations but the in-ground tank is convenient. This is designed to allow the wastewater and oil from your operation to flow into the storage tank.

When the mixture settles, the oil will be at the top. There is an exit pipe at the top of the tank, so when more wastewater flows in, the oil will be pushed through it. There are also machines that are designed to collect the oily layer directly from the tank. For example, the tube skimmer sucks oil through a hose-like tube. This type of compact skimmer is suitable for smaller operations, while the in-ground tank is appropriate for high wastewater volumes.

Chemical Separation

Emulsified oil cannot be skimmed directly because it is usually dispersed into the wastewater. The breakdown of the oil can be attributed to chemical emulsifying substances or mechanical intervention. If your operation will have a thorough mixture of water and oil, you can choose chemical separation. Basically, when de-emulsifiers or metal-based coagulants are added, the oil layer will rise, and the material can be skimmed. Unfortunately, the chemicals will be a long-term expense.

Filtration Techniques

Finally, you can choose special filtration equipment to separate emulsified oil. It is safer for the environment since chemicals will not be released. The common oil-water filtration mechanisms that you will find in the separators include activated carbon and membrane filters.