How does the oil water separator system function?
It is used for the removal of oils and greases or sometimes solids from industrial waste streams and storm water discharges through physical or chemical separation methods including the use of gravity, filters, coagulation and flotation. However, it should be noted that the system is not designed for the separation of solids and high concentrations of oil from water. For example, in cases when a large quantity of oil is spilled in the wash bay drain, the system might not effectively separate oil from water. It is also important to prohibit the discharge of wastewater from industrial operations that contain hazardous wastes and pollutants.
Gravity oil water separation system
One type of system makes use of gravity in separating oil from water. Its function is to remove petroleum products from water and their different specific gravities. The specific gravity of a petroleum product is its density divided by the density of water. Since the specific density of petroleum is less than that of water, it will float. Solids which are heavier than waster will generally collect at the bottom of the holding tank and it should be periodically removed during maintenance. In some instances, the gravity separation system may not effectively remove all the oil from the resulting wastewater in order to comply with regulatory requirements. A solution is the use of coalescing oil water separator system that will achieve the necessary separation efficiency that is required.
The coalescing oil water separation system
Through the process of coalescing, the smaller oil droplets will become larger and more buoyant so that they can rise faster. The coalescing separators will use inclined plates that are placed inside the separation chamber which will only provide a small vertical distance of about ¼” for the small droplets to travel before encountering the fixed surface. They will coalesce with the other droplets and continue to rise along the plates into the water surface. Another coalescing method makes use of a filter made from oleophilic oil fibers like polypropylene where the droplets of oil will stick to as wastewater flows. The droplets of oil will become larger and more buoyant enough to detach from the fibers but most would rise to the surface where they can be collected.
It is important for oil water separator system to be properly used because sludge and oil can become contaminated with hazardous substances that can compromise the environment. If sludge contains hazardous waste, it must be disposed of according to regulations unless it has been treated accordingly.