Government regulations concerning “used oil,” underground storage tanks, and hazardous waste have a significant impact on industry. Many small business operations that were previously unregulated must reorganize their operations and develop hazardous material management plans that comply with the 1984 Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) Amendments. Many of these facilities also have underground waste oil tanks to collect oil from several process areas. Waste oil that is determined to be a hazardous waste is costly to dispose of. A proper “used oil” management plan that prevents inadvertent contamination with hazardous wastes (that is, mixing with solvents, paint thinners) will lower the facility's disposal costs. This paper focuses on one small quantity generator's used oil management system that minimizes indiscriminate oil mixing and promotes oil reuse and recycling. This system could be installed and operated at any facility.
Ship bilgewater oil has been a problem in the maritime industry for a number of years. Extensive research has been completed on this problem and several solutions have been marketed. The same technology and equipment can be used in a manufacturing facility. A maritime oil/water separation unit was installed at a transportation service and repair facility as part of the tanker cleaning operation. The cleaning operation is as follows: steam and hot water are passed through a tanker to remove residual oils and vapors. The oil/water mixture is collected and processed through a treatment system to separate the oil and water.
Six field tests were made using different type oils and oil mixtures. The tests indicate that water discharged after processing contained less than 15-ppm oil and met discharge requirements for the local sanitary sewer system. The test results show the initial oil concentration before processing and the final discharge concentrations. The separated oil was collected by type into 208-L (55-gal) drums. Several drums of separated oil were reused for fuel in the facilities transportation and space heating equipment. The remaining oil was returned to the customer for reuse. By recycling the oil, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) does not consider the facility a waste generator. The recycled oil provides an additional fuel source thereby lowering the facilities operating costs. Oil collection in drums eliminates the need for an underground storage tank and compliance with tank regulations.
The system required less capital investment and installation than standard gravity separation systems (a cost comparison is presented in the paper). The equipment was located completely above ground and could be set up for fully automatic or manual operation. The equipment processes 0.5 m3/h (2.2 gpm), 1.75 m3/h (7.5 gpm), or 2.25 m3/h (10 gpm) of oily water.