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How do Oil Water Separators Work?

November 7, 2014 | Posted in Blog

Oil water separators are used in a number of industrial applications for the removal of oil, oil-coated solids, grease, and light petroleum products from wastewater. This wastewater is then discharged into municipal sewer systems. Many commercial and industrial businesses are required to use oil water separators to prevent adverse environmental effects and to maintain the health of municipal wastewater management systems.

How do Oil Water Separators Work?
The basic premise under which oil water separators work is density. Oil is less dense than water, which is why it floats on the surface of the water. Wastewater containing oil enters the tank from a drain and travels through a number of filters. These filters are designed to catch solids and small particles of oil less than 10 microns in size. The majority of the oil floats to the top of the tank, where it accumulates until reaching a certain level, at which time a sensor is triggered, informing the operator to pump out the oil. The treated wastewater is discharged into the sewer system with no more than 10 ppm of free oil.

What are Oil Water Separators Used For?
Oil-water separators are used for a number of applications including:

  • Treatment of food industry wastewater. Wastewater in the food industry contains oil, grease, and suspended solids that need to be removed before the water enters the municipal wastewater management system.
  • Treatment of stormwater. The process of treating stormwater, known as attenuation, removes suspended solids and slowly releases the water back into the environment. This prevents runoff and subsequent erosion, as well as removes contaminants that could harm the environment.
  • Industrial wastewater treatment. Industrial wastewater may contain petroleum, which is harmful to the environment. Oil water separators are used to remove petroleum and other contaminants from industrial wastewater.

If you need an oil water separator, contact Tanks Direct. Our oil water separators can be custom designed to fit your wastewater treatment needs.

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