ASTM D6104 - 97(2011)

    Standard Practice for Determining the Performance of Oil/Water Separators Subjected to Surface Run-Off

    Active Standard ASTM D6104 | Developed by Subcommittee: D19.06

    Book of Standards Volume: 11.02


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    ASTM D6104

    Significance and Use

    The Clean Water Act promulgated the implementation of water quality standards and contamination limits for a wide range of pollutants including oil and grease. Specifically, the EPA prohibits the discharges of oil that cause a film or sheen upon or cause discoloration of the surface of the water. Several state and local agencies have adopted this statement in addition to setting concentration limits, that is, 15 mg/L or even 5 mg/L. The purpose of this practice is to evaluate the performance of a separator in regards to the regulations and user requirements.

    Another purpose of this practice is to establish that a separator containing oil at its rated capacity would still be capable of meeting the above criteria when subjected to run-off.

    This practice is not applicable if the influent to a separator contained a sudden release as much higher concentrations would be expected. For this case, see Practice D6157.

    This practice is not applicable if the influent to a separator is conveyed by a pumping means.

    The data generated in this method is valid for the separators tested only. The results of these tests may be extrapolated to smaller or larger size separators provided that applicable geometric and dynamic similitude are maintained. Where sound engineering method limits the use of extrapolation, that size unit must be subjected to testing.

    The flow rate for all the tests must equal the manufacturer's total rated flow for the given separator at a given influent contamination level and for the selected effluent peak contamination concentration.

    1. Scope

    1.1 This practice covers the procedure, any necessary related apparatus, and the sampling technique to be used in determining the performance characteristics of oil/water separators subjected to contaminated run-off.

    1.2 This practice does not address the determination of the performance characteristics of an oil/water separator subjected to the sudden release of a relatively large quantity of hydrocarbons that may appear, in pure form or at high concentration, in the influent to the separator. In this case, refer to Practice D6157.

    1.3 This practice does not address the determination of the performance characteristics of an oil/water separator subjected to a mechanically emulsified influent such as provided by a pump.

    1.4 This practice does not investigate the ability of the separator to handle debris or suspended solids, that is, grit or tree leaves.

    1.5 While the effluent may meet code requirements for total oil and grease content, this practice does not address the presence of soluble organics, i.e., Benzene, Toluene, Ethyl-benzene and Xylene (BTEX's) which may be detected in the effluent. It also does not make any provisions for the effects of detergents, surfactants, soaps, or any water soluble matter (that is, salts), or any portion of an essentially insoluble matter that may be found in solution on separation. (Effects of certain water soluble chemicals or solids may be investigated by adding them to the water at predetermined constant concentrations.)

    1.6 In order to estimate the effect of water temperature on the performance of the separator, the tests described in this practice must be performed at two water temperatures. The selected temperatures must be at least 10°C (18°F) apart, with the temperature ranging from a minimum of 0°C (32°F) to a maximum of 50°C (122°F).

    1.7 This practice does not make any provisions for the variation of pH or temperature during a test run. Refer to Appendix X1 for further detail.

    1.8 This practice can be used with a variety of hydrocarbons. It adopts No. 2 fuel oil with a density of 845 kg/m3 (52.73 lbm/ft3) and a viscosity2 of 1.9 to 4.1 centistokes at 40°C (104°F) and SAE 90 lubricating oil with a density2 of 930 kg/m3 (58 lbm/ft3) at 15.5°C (60°F) and a viscosity (see SAE J313) of 13.5 to < 24 centistokes at 100°C (212°F) as the comparative testing media. It is understood that the results obtained from this practice are only directly applicable to No. 2 fuel oil and SAE 90 lubricating oil for the tested concentrations and only careful interpolation or extrapolation, or both, is allowed to other hydrocarbons. Low viscosity or high density hydrocarbons or hydrocarbons that contain a larger fraction of highly soluble compounds may need to be tested separately.

    Note 1—No extrapolation outside the range of the tested influent or effluent oil concentrations is allowed as performance may not be linear. Hence, to establish performance at a higher or lower concentration, the separator shall be tested for that specific condition. In addition, linearity must be established prior to using linear interpolation.

    1.9 Since regulations are based on effluent total hydrocarbon content, this practice does not set forth any lower limits on oil particle size for the evaluation of separator efficiency. However, a standardized means for mixing oil and water shall be specified to ensure repeatability. It must be noted however that smaller particles, having a greater surface area to volume ratio, rise at a slower rate than their larger counterparts. (Guide F933 requires that 20 % of all oil particles be smaller than or equal to 50 μm and IMO MEPC 60 (30) does not mention any particle size requirements but asks the user to avoid emulsion causing chemicals.)

    1.10 Although the tests described in this practice intend to simulate contaminated storm water run-off separation requirements, they do not cover all possible applications. It is the end user's responsibility to determine whether his separation requirements are within the scope of this practice.

    1.11 A product different from the general description herein may be tested and found to be in compliance with the performance criteria set forth.

    1.12 The values stated in either inch-pound units or SI units are to be regarded as standard. Within the text, the inch-pound units are shown in parentheses. The values stated in each system are not exact equivalents. Therefore, each system must be used independently of the other. Combining values from the two systems may result in nonconformance with this specification.

    1.13 This practice does not purport to address all the environmental hazards, if any, associated with its use. It is the responsibility of the user of this standard to establish appropriate environmentally responsible practices and to determine the applicability of regulatory limitations prior to use.

    1.14 This standard does not purport to address all of the safety concerns, if any, associated with its use. It is the responsibility of the user of this standard to establish appropriate safety and health practices and determine the applicability of regulatory limitations prior to use.


    2. Referenced Documents (purchase separately) The documents listed below are referenced within the subject standard but are not provided as part of the standard.

    ASTM Standards

    D1129 Terminology Relating to Water

    D3370 Practices for Sampling Water from Closed Conduits

    D4281 Test Method for Oil and Grease (Fluorocarbon Extractable Substances) by Gravimetric Determination

    D6157 Practice for Determining the Performance of Oil/Water Separators Subjected to a Sudden Release

    F933 Guide for Evaluation of Oil Water Separation Systems for Spilled Oil Recovery Applications (Discontinued 2001)

    EPA Standards

    EPA-1664 H-Hexane Extractable Material (HEM) and Silica Gel Treated N-Hexane Extractable Material (SGT-HEM) by Extraction and Gravimetry (Oil and Grease and Total Petroleum Hydrocarbons) EPA-821-B-94-004B, April 1995

    SAE Standards

    SAEJ313 Surface Vehicle Recommended Practice (R) Diesel Fuels


    UNSPSC Code

    UNSPSC Code


    DOI: 10.1520/D6104-97R11

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