Eugene Parker, plant manager for Jesco Resources (Now AXEL Americas, LLC), a manufacturer of grease and gear oil for agriculture, mining, railroads and other applications, purchased the company’s first oil skimmer in 1978. One of his primary interests was to get immediate approval on the cleanliness of the company’s waste water from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
Parker needed an oil skimmer that not only removed oily residue, but also left the water clean enough to meet EPA requirements for discharge. He knew that in order to gain EPA compliance, any water in use at the company had to be clean prior to discharging into the sewer system. “We wanted to get EPA approval on the first try,” he says.
Parker read about an oil skimmer that used a specially formulated polyurethane tube to collect oily waste floating on the water. He selected the Model 5H oil skimmer (Oil Skimmers Inc., Cleveland, OH). The skimmer is designed for and used in tightly configured areas. It was adapted to attach to the separator tank to remove any oil that accumulated in the tank so that clean water would be returned to the sewer. The waste oil was then sent to a collection tank to be picked up and recycled by an oil recycling company.
The simple design and rugged construction of the oil skimmer makes it easy to operate and to maintain. Oil adheres to the outside of the closed-loop tube as it is slowly drawn across the surface of the water. The tube snakes over and around floating debris, automatically adjusting to changing water levels. The oil-covered tube passes through scrapers that remove the oil. The clean tube then returns to the water surface to collect more oil. The recovered oil flowing into the collection container is virtually water-free.
In 1979, when the EPA met with the company, Parker and his crew were ready for close inspection. They passed easily. To prove the effectiveness of the skimmer, Parker rigged up a goldfish aquarium on company property, using the discharge water from the separation tank to provide an aquarium for goldfish.
Presently, the fully automatic skimmer has served the company well in the 40+ years it’s been in use, and it has been fully operational and maintenance free 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, with no supervision