Oil Skimmers Help Chemical Plants Meet Clean Water Act Requirements

Chemical plants that manufacture or otherwise process chemicals (on a large-scale) face unique challenges when it comes to wastewater management.
Oil Skimmers Help Chemical Plants Meet Clean Water Act Requirements

While the equipment, technology and processes used at chemical plants varies, the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Clean Water Act requires plants to meet certain performance standards aimed at water pollution prevention and treatment.

Under the Act, the EPA has implemented pollution control programs such as establishing wastewater standards that require wastewater to be virtually free of oil and other contaminants. Chemical plants that don’t meet these standards can face large fines—up to € 53,000 per day in some cases—making compliance, essential.

What can chemical plants do to meet Clean Water Act requirements?
Most chemical plants meter discharge into a public water system in smaller amounts, which certainly helps meet requirements. However, there is much more plants can do. Specifically, installing a tube-type oil skimmer to actually remove the oil found in the wastewater aids significantly with wastewater treatment. For example, the following two chemical plants installed oil skimmers to aid with wastewater compliance and realized remarkable benefits.

A polyvinyl chloride resin plant that produces 185,000 pounds of resins each year found that, despite metering its discharge into a public water system in smaller amounts, it was still exceeding acceptable standards. After installing a tube-type oil skimmer to separate and remove oil from wastewater, the company is not only able to meet wastewater standards, but is also able to sell the collected oil for a profit.

A Washington-based chemical plant that manufactures sodium borohydride, a chemical used in a variety of applications, was struggling to meet state regulations of boron levels of less than 5 ppm. The chemical plant was able to meet boron limits by installing an underground sewer system that utilized a three-step wastewater treatment process, and included a tube-type oil skimmer, pH control system and evaporation technology.

How can tube-type oil skimmers help chemical plants meet wastewater requirements?
Tube-type oil skimmers work by utilizing a closed-loop oil collector tube that skims the surface of the wastewater, allowing oil to adhere to the outside of the tube, while the tube moves easily around floating debris. The floating tube is then drawn into the oil skimmer and through ceramic scrapers that remove the oil. The tube then returns to the water surface to collect more oil, while the recovered oil flows to a collection container. Tube-type oil skimmers are an efficient and effective oil-removal solution for chemical plants as they are able to completely remove oil from wastewater. Additionally, tube-type oil skimmers can operate 24/7 without the need for maintenance or supervision, and can be customized to fit any application.

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