Compressed air holds a lot of water vapour, and once that vapour becomes cooled into a liquid (condensate) what’s generated is a dirty, emulsified oil-water mixture that can not simply be poured down the drain.
Environmental regulations such as Water Resources Act and Hazardous Waste regulations strictly prohibit the uncontrolled disposal of oily wastes and chemicals, including the condensate drained from your compressed air system. Untreated condensate will be an environmental issue as your compressor is generating many litres of water containing oil and potentially other harmful substances every day, and regardless of using biodegradable oil, it’s classified as hazardous industrial waste. Disposing of untreated condensate might get you into trouble, as polluting the surface or groundwater is an offence under the Water Resources Act with directors fine upto £20,000! It’s worth considering that oil is easily spotted and traced back to the source…. your compressor house.
This is when a compressed air water separator is key to purifying your system.
Since the condensate is approximately 95% water and 5% oil, condensate management systems (oil water separators-OWS) have been developed to reduce or eliminate the amount of oil in the condensate.
OWS are installed as part of the compressed air system utilizing a specially treated absorbent material and polypropylene media.
Very simple and inexpensive to install, no electrical requirements are generally needed. It most situations it is just a case of linking drain valves and filter valves to the OWS with nylon tube.
Separators effectively separate all compressor lubricants without the need for condensate storage tanks, setting chambers or costly disposal. By reducing the oil concentration in water to a permitted level, this allows the clean water to be discharged safely into normal drainage systems. This leaves the relatively small amount of concentrated oil to be disposed of legitimately and economically, generally this is removed by the compressor service engineers as part of the service.
Every oil lubricated compressor set up should have an oil water separator, the cost is minimal when compared to the environmental impact of oil pollution and also the directors fine!!
Please get in touch on 01480 217904 for free advise on oil water separators and generally reducing the environmental impact from your compressed air set up.