SkimTech Inc.

Case study - oil removal from oil water separator


Courtesy of SkimTech Inc.


Food Processor; forming and precooking prepared food items for the fast food industry.  Plant located in Upstate New York.

The Problem:

Customer operates three shifts of production.  The third shift is responsible for washing and sanitizing all food process equipment and surrounding areas.  Oil and grease from sausage and hamburger cookers, and drippings on the plant floor from other sources, are washed down the drainage system into two outdoor oil/water separators.  Excess oil and grease discharges to the local waste water treatment works (POTW) were costing an average of $20,000 per month in surcharges and the drain lines had to be pressure cleaned by an outside contractor once-a-week.

Belt and Mop Type oil skimmers at the site were not in use.  Both systems clogged with oil and grease a short time after installation.  Neither system could be winterized efficiently for use in cold weather.  Customer tried heat lamps and tape to keep the systems operating during cold weather with no success.  Neither system had adequate drainage capacity for heavy oil and grease.  Weeks of constant maintenance attention left the customer frustrated and eventually he simply did not use the systems.    

Operating Requirements:

  • Oil skimming process requirements:
    • Oil Skimmer has to operate at varying water levels.
    • Oil Skimmer can not reintroduce the free-floating oil back into the water.
    • Oil Skimmer has to be low maintenance requiring minimal operating attention.
    • Oil and grease (and dirt, plastic wrappers and grit) removed by the oil skimming system can not clog the main drive system of the oil skimmer or the drain lines.
    • Oil collection pan has to have a debris screen that can easily be removed and cleaned by maintenance personnel.
    • Oil Skimmer has to have abrasive resistant components that will not chip or crack from prolonged contact with oily waste material and dirt/grit that mixes with the oil.
    • Oil Skimmer has to mount and operate above the oil/water separator settling chamber without extensive retrofitting.
    • Oil Skimmer has to operate during winter months when temperatures can drop below 0◦F.        
  • Install one SkimTech Model BG01 “Mighty Mack” Skimall™ Oil Skimmer complete with Angle Frame Mount and 23’ length of TigerTube™ oil skimmer collector tubing.  Tube Type oil skimmers use a specially formulated collector tube that floats on the surface of the process water and is driven in a continuous loop by the skimmer.  Oil and grease cling to the outside surface of the collector tubing and are drawn into the skimmer where they are removed by scrapers.  The collector tubing breaks-up encrusted material and does not reintroduce any of the oil back into the flowing water.
  • The Angle Frame Mount used to mount the oil skimmer is supplied complete with a sludge pan, debris screen and all assembly hardware for quick and convenient mounting above the oil/water separator.  No submerged idlers or pulleys were required to be installed in the separator.
  • The Model BG01 Oil Skimmer uses abrasive resistant Dureon™ wear pieces that will not chip or crack and remove the oil and grease from the collector tubing without excessive wear or any adjustment.

The customer installed two Tube Type oil skimming systems that reduced their oil and grease discharge levels to below the limits established by the local Waste Water Treatment Plant.  Reducing their oil and grease discharges to a level that complied with the local limits eliminated excess surcharge costs, and reduced the frequency of pipe cleaning to a once every six months regular schedule of service.  The skimming systems operate continuously 12 months a year and paid for themselves in one month!

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