When air is compressed and cooled, the water that was in the air condenses, and is discharged at the after-cooler, dryer, and filter drains. Unless you run an oil-free compressor, this condensate may be contaminated with significant amounts of compressor oil…and in many places this condensate is considered “hazardous waste”. As such it cannot be discharged down the sewer drain…and certainly not to the ground (The result may be a soil contamination issue!)
Sure, you can pay a hazardous-waste company to haul away the contaminated condensation, but consider: During a typical East Coast summer, a 100-horsepower compressor can easily generate over 2 gallons of oil-contaminated condensate every hour. That’s going to add up.
To meet this need and avoid such costs, an “oil-water” separator is used. Oil-water separator systems use a variety of technologies to decontaminate the water allowing it to be disposed safely and economically down a sewer drain. The separated oil is collected in a designated container and easily managed.
With the use of an oil-water separator the potential oil carry-over in the discharged condensate is reduced significantly. It doesn’t get more environmentally friendly than that – however, by not maintaining an installed oil-water separator, the same pollution issues can occur with the possibility of stiff penalties.
No one wants to pollute, and everyone wants to avoid penalties. But don’t worry, says Andre Narbonne, one of Scales Industrial Technologies’ skilled sales managers: An annual maintenance and testing of the condensate treatment system is all that’s needed to keep Mother Nature and all those environmental agency inspectors happy. “A properly maintained and tested condensate treatment system makes short work of inspections and audits,” Narbonne adds.
A smart first step is having Scales’ field professionals evaluate your compressor system’s operation and maintenance protocols. They can determine if there are any problems, or even the potential for problems, which will save you money and headaches down the road. Solving contamination issues before they become environmental hazards, and ensuring you’re compliant with all applicable regulations, is always Job No. 1.
For more information on Scales Industrial Technologies’ oil water systems, give us a call at any one of our locations.