The mission of South Feather Water and Power (SFWP) is two fold: to provide cost effective power with minimal impact on the environment; and to ensure a dependable supply of safe, quality drinking water as well as a reliable supply of water for agricultural users. In all instances, the California-based utility is committed to delivering water and power in the most economical, efficient and publicly responsible manner. It also is dedicated to providing its employees with a safe work environment.
These commitments led SFWP to proactively seek out one of the industry's best solutions for guarding against oil leaking into the water supply.
The Abanaki Alternative to Messy Sorbents
SFWP Electrical Maintenance Supervisor John Davis is responsible for the maintenance of the hydroelectric generation facilities. 'Old generators have a tendency to leak oil, which can end up in the sump. Obviously, any discharge into the reservoir is unacceptable, so we're always on the lookout for a proactive solution,' he said.
Davis witnessed what he thought was an excellent solution at Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) and was impressed. They had installed an Abanaki Model 8 Oil Grabber at a dam site to prevent oil from leading into the water supply.
'When I came on board, I started looking for an alternative to the method we had been using to remove oil from sump-- sorbents. While they can be effective, they're also very messy and time consuming,' Davis explained. So after he saw the oil skimmer in action at the PG&E site, he logged on to the Abanaki website and discovered more about the Model 8.
Today this device is mounted in a key power facility. Its continuous belt and wiper action makes use of the differences in specific gravity and surface tension between oil and water. The belt, operating on a motor and pulley system, runs through contaminated liquid to pick up oil from the surface. After traveling over the head pulley, the belt passes through tandem wiper blades where oil is scraped off both sides of the belt and discharged into an Abanaki Oil concentrator. From the oil concentrator any residual water is returned to the sump and the oil is sent to a 55 gal drum.
Low Maintenance Benefits of the Model 8
The Abanaki Model 8 Oil Grabber is designed to be a dependable and effective means of removing oil from water and water-base solutions, up to 40 gallons of oil per hour from the fluid surface. It is considered a good choice for applications with fluctuating water levels as it can be used in tanks with depths as shallow as one foot, or as deep as 100 feet.
How is it working at South Feather Water and Power? In use now about a year, Davis revealed that the Model 8 has been a welcome addition by his staff.
'The maintenance department really likes not having to manually remove oil. They no longer have to make special trips out to the sump to check on it or take the time out of routine maintenance checks to manually clean it,' Davis explained. He also reported that the Model 8's low maintenance design has been well received.
The tail pulley has flanges that allow it to roll freely on the inside of the belt without becoming dislodged. It requires no bearings and does not need to be fastened to the tank. If turbulent conditions exist, an optional tether and cage assembly prevents the tail pulley from being dislodged.
'We're a small staff with a large area to cover. The Abanaki oil skimmer in place gives us one less thing to worry about,' Davis concluded.