What Is Oil Skimming? The 5 Clear Benefits of Efficient Oil Removal


oil-skimmer-steel-rolling-cart-mount-1 During many industrial and manufacturing processes, water is combined with chemicals, oils, grease, fat and other containments.

What is Oil Skimming?

Oil skimming is the process of removing floating waste oil, fat or grease from wastewater. It is the first step in any recovery, recycle or reuse project, and has numerous benefits for the environment, economy, and businesses.

Read on to learn why you should skim.

5 Benefits of Oil Removal

1. Cost Reduction

With skimming, water is cleaned before it reaches your wastewater treatment system, reducing the likelihood that the oil clogs machinery or filters. For this reason, you are less likely to need coagulants, polymers, vacuums and other absorption materials to remove the oil. Less need for expensive chemicals and equipment to clean process or wastewater, and prolonged life of delicate probes, pH sensors and filters results in substantial cost savings for your business.

As an example, Brooklyn Navy Yard was able to save $30,000-$40,000 each year in in-house and contractor labor and replacement parts for monitoring equipment by switching to a tube-based oil skimming process.

Oil skimming also extends the life of your water—thereby reducing overall water consumption—and opens the door for reuse. Reusing process water saves money and ensures fresh water is used efficiently.

2. New Revenue Opportunities

When oil is recovered close to its point of origin, the original value of the oil is retained. Once cleaned, this oil can typically be reused either for the same job or for a completely new one at a much lower cost than purchasing new. For instance, in oil refineries, waste oil is skimmed, stored in collection tanks and then reused at a fraction of the cost.

Oil can also be sold to companies that make biodiesel, soap or animal feed, turning your waste into revenue. 

3. Enhanced Environmental Impact

Skimming prevents oil from ending up in landfills and reduces the amount of pollutants in our public waterways. It also conserves water as less is needed to fuel industrial processes. Conservation efforts could help your business qualify for city or state tax incentives, rebates or other economic advantages.

4. Safer Work Environment

Untreated process or wastewater can trap anaerobic bacteria, leading to foul smells and skin conditions for workers. Movement on the surface of the water and separation of the oil from the water both make it harder for bacteria to grow.

5. Improved Operations

If an oil film is left behind in wash water, it can cause issues when painting, plating or finishing your product, as the coating won’t adhere properly. In addition, excess oil in machining shortens the life of coolant and machines, and increases maintenance costs of filters, nozzles and lines where oil can get clogged.

Oil skimming improves overall operations by keeping equipment running smoothly and ensuring maximum production uptime.

How Do I Skim Oil?

Oil skimming devices vary in type and size (for use in small indoor sumps to large outdoor ponds) based on the challenge at hand. Some feature rotating drums, discs, belts or ropes, whereas others use floating tubes.

When evaluating options, tube-type skimmers consistently outperform other types in most applications. These skimmers attract floating oil or grease using a closed-loop tube that rests on the water’s surface. The oil is then scraped off, and drained in a collection tank for efficient, cost-effective oil removal. 

Contact Oil Skimmers to find the best solution to treat your oil-on-water application.

Topics: benefits oil skimming

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