Oil Skimmers, Inc.

Oil/water separator and oil skimmer companies work together to help power generation facilities

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Courtesy of Oil Skimmers, Inc.

Power generation facilities depend on oil/water separators to separate oil from its waste water. While oil/water separators are a helpful component to a plant’s wastewater system, oil/water separators traditionally do not provide an efficient method of removing oil once it has been separated from the waste stream. Knowing what his customers were faced with, Dave Goding, president, Mercer International, a leading oil/water separator manufacturer (Mendham, N.J.) decided to be proactive with his customers, who consist primarily of power generation plants.

Mercer International already had solved many problems inherent to oil/water separators with its Compliance Master™ separator, which includes the Multi-Pack™, coalescers featuring field-adjustable coalescer plates. Compliance Master is a gravity-displacement separator that separates oil and water. Goding wanted to revolutionize the separator industry, again, by helping to prevent the problems that power generation plants face from oil build-up in separators.

Traditionally, the separator industry has either used overflow skimmer pipes or weirs, or has depended upon an outside removal firm to pump off the oil. While they are inexpensive to use, skim pipes/weirs have inherent problems because there is always oil on the surface of the separator. Oil removal services are effective in removing the layer of oil but they are expensive. They are needed continuously, and therefore, they are an ongoing expense. In either case, there always will be a problem of oil on the surface of the separator. Problem When oil is not continuously removed from the surface of an oil/water separator, several problems occur:

● Heavy rain or water flow can exceed the design of the separator and wash out the oil build- up.

● Failure to remove the oil causes excessive oil build-up, which increases the chance for the oil to escape and reduces the area of the separation chamber.

● The oil layer prevents oxygen from reaching the water allowing anaerobic bacteria to grow, thus plugging the separator plates and emitting foul odors.

● As the level is lowered for certain maintenance procedures, or as components are lifted out, the tank walls and interior components become completely oil-coated. Also, if the unit is completely drained, residual oil will escape into the outlet piping and be released down stream upon refilling the separator when brining the system back on-line.

● The oil layer makes visual inspection of the coalescer and components very difficult, if not impossible. Solution Goding researched a number of methods to remove oil from the separators and discovered that the installation of a “floating tube” oil skimmer with the separating device would eliminate the excess oil. After researching equipment, he decided upon Oil Skimmers Inc., a manufacturer of oil skimmers that uses floating tube technology.

“I was impressed with the quality and operation of the oil skimmers, but also that Oil Skimmers has representatives throughout the world. This is important for me to be able to assist my international customers,” said Goding. Mercer International began offering the Model 6V and Model 5H oil skimmers from Oil Skimmers with its Compliance Master separators to its customers.

The skimming units use a specially designed floating tube collector, which floats on the surface of the water. Oil adheres to the outside of the closed looped tube, which is continuously driven across the separator’s surface and through a set of scrapers that remove oil. The oil then gravity drains into a collection tank. This movement of the tube draws the oil to itself and assures total surface oil removal. Both units (the Model 5H is the same as the Model 6V but compact in size for hard-to-reach areas) are designed to operate on a continuous basis while unattended by an operator. The long looped tube is long enough to cover a large skimming area and requires low maintenance. In addition to their use on new oil/water separators, a number of mounting systems are available, which enable oil skimmers to be retrofitted onto existing oil/water separators.

“Our separator offers the most efficient method of separating oil from water, and we needed the most efficient method of removing the oil from our unit,” said Goding. “Our clients depend on our equipment to work and work well with minimal attention. That’s why we selected Oil Skimmers products.” Results Goding’s customers are pleased with the results of the attachment of the Model 6V and the Model 5H to their oil/water separators. By using Oil Skimmers skimming units in conjunction with Mercer International’s innovative separators, the power generation plants have saved time and money by not having to use the traditional oil removal methods. Also, the addition of these systems has eased the environmental concern of oil discharge. When discharges exceed the limit set by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), large fines must be paid. With the help of oil skimming equipment, the oil discharges were eliminated. Mercer International’s customers had a tremendous reduction in fines by the separating and skimming combination, thus resulting in a financial benefit.

“By offering this product feature with our entire separator line, I become a more reliable, forward-thinking source for my customers,” said Goding. “Our product offering is the only one of its kind in the oil/water separator industry.” As a result of the power plants’ success in using Oil Skimmers skimming units, Mercer International offers the Model 6V and the Model 5H as an optional add-on to its separators to all of its customers. Mercer International also offers Model 6V and Model 5H accessories from Oil Skimmers. “It’s simple- these oil skimmers solve the problem, and that’s invaluable to me and my customer base,” said Goding.

Oil Skimmers Inc. offers long-lasting, customized oil skimming equipment and solutions for diverse manufacturing and industrial applications that require dependable, continuous removal of oil from process liquids and wastewater. With thousands of systems in operation, some for over 35 years, Oil Skimmers provides reliable, cost-saving oil skimmers with excellent customer service and support. Mercer International offers a full-line of above and below ground separators in addition to existing system retrofits, which incorporates Oil Skimmers equipment. Mercer offers replacement of a client’s existing brand of coalescer and internals with their proprietary components.

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