Removing condensate from any compressed air system is vitally important. But there is one thing to keep in mind – condensate drained from compressed air systems contain water, dirt, rust and even degraded lubricating oil which is classified as hazardous industrial waste. Discharging it is not only harmful to the environment, it is illegal!
Environmental regulations such as Water Resources Act and Hazardous Waste regulations strictly prohibit the discharge of oily wastes and chemicals, including the condensate drained from your compressed air system. This might be a problem 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. Discharging condensate might get you into trouble, as polluting the surface or groundwater is an offence under the Water Resources Act with a fine of £ 20,000 or more!
30kW oil-lubricated compressor working at 7.5 bar produces 20 litres of water, classified as a hazardous industrial waste, every 8 hours!
The sources of hazardous waste in compressed air system are:
> Used oil filter elements, desiccant, air filter elements;
> Air end/pump items;
> Gaskets, service parts, oil from servicing activities, etc.
Compressor condensate must be either collected or treated prior to disposal, using an oil/water separator to remove the oil from the condensate. Untreated disposal is costly as it is charged by volume. Considering that approx. 95% of the condensate consists of water it makes financial sense to invest in drain taps and an oil/water separator.
OIL / WATER SEPARATOR
Oil/water separators are installed as part of the compressed air system utilising a specially treated absorbent, polypropylene media. 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 the environment. This leaves the relatively small amount of concentrated oil to be disposed of legitimately and economically.
- Help to protect and maintain the environment.
- Efficiently separate oil and water onsite and dispose up to 99.9% of the condensate.
- Meet trade effluent discharge regulations.
- Rapid payback over conventional disposal methods.
There are variety of drains available with large differences in efficiency. Making wise drainage decisions can save up to 10% of the cost of compressed air”. The hidden cost with the most common drain types, lies within their operation to discharge expensive compressed air.
Manual traps are considered by some as ‘no traps’ as they are often left open causing significant air losses. Timed drains would be definitely a better choice, as they ensure regular water drainage accordingly to the individual settings. These electric drains are a popular choice thanks to their reliability in the most demanding conditions and compact design.
But if you are efficiency-focused it’s worth to consider a zero loss drains! No loss refers to their design, which open only when necessary and close before any loss of compressed air occurs, proving to be the most efficient and effective choice!
- Saves valuable compressed air;
- Removes the risk of condensate carryover from your separation and purification equipment;
- Protects downstream equipment and processes from condensate carryover;
- Increases overall system reliability.
Vave a look at our air treatment solutions.