Friday, 28 January 2011

Oil Skimming - An Excellent Solution For Environmental Cleanup

Oil Skimming is the most popular, effective and inexpensive way to recover spilled petroleum products.
There is one problem with oil only collects liquids that float on the surface. It won't collect any liquid that is floating below the surface or mixed with the water as is the case with the crude oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.
Oil skimming is not a fast way to collect petroleum based liquids because once you get moving over 3 feet per minute, they will not separate from the wastewater completely, so the effectiveness of the oil skimmers is lessened.
Recovering petroleum based products is a slow, methodical process that just takes time to complete. And in order to get great results, it needs to be done continuously until all of the spilled liquids are removed.
Oil skimming itself will normally not remove enough of the oil from wastewater to meet government discharge regulations so it is best to include an oil water separator downstream from the oil skimmer process to get as much of the contaminants out as possible before it is released back into the environment.
There are several oil skimmers that do the job, but just do it different ways.
One of the most common machines for cleaning up spills is the tube oil skimmer. It has the least number of moving parts, uses the least amount of energy and is virtually maintenance free.
It does not require any consumables so it does not require ongoing attention to make sure its running properly and effectively. It uses an electric motor that drives a pulley which circulates the tube out across the water and back into the unit where the recovered liquid is placed into the catch basin.
The next piece of equipment that is commonly used for oil skimming is the belt skimmer. Instead of a tube that rotates through the wastewater collecting contaminants, a wide belt is moved through the water, back up into the skimmer and then returned to the wastewater after the contaminants have been removed.
Roller skimmers are another common piece of equipment used for oil skimming that you've probably seen in the Gulf Oil Spill Clean up news coverage.
They work on the same principles of tube and belt skimmers, but are typically used for large oil spills and are powered by compressed air instead of electric motors to minimize any spark that may cause the spilled crude to catch on fire.
If you've decided that oil skimming is the way to go to get your retention ponds or tanks cleaned, you need to have the following information on hand before contacting a vendor about which is the right oil skimmer for you:
  1. The type of products you're trying to recover
  2. The approximate amount of the products you're trying to recover
  3. The flow of the water you want to recover the contaminants from
Bret Mundt has been an industrial contractor for more than 20 years. He knows what works and what doesn't. He explains how oil skimming works and describes the equipment available to clean up spilled petroleum products in wastewater, streams, ponds.