Oil skimming Cleans Up Contaminated Groundwater

Chemviron Midwest, Inc. an industrial consulting and remediation firm in Wooster, Ohio frequently needs to recover hydrocarbons from groundwater.

Typical situations include remedial studies, soil contamination, groundwater studies, removing oil from water, environmental compliance, permitting applications and environmental site assessments during property transfers.

Because of the variety of situations encountered, the firm wanted a highly flexible recovery tool, preferably portable.

After weighing the advantages and disadvantages of passive methods and active pump systems, Chemviron selected a PetroXtractor® active belt skimmer from Abanaki Corporation, Chagrin Falls, Ohio.

Chemviron has been successfully oil skimming at several different service station locations. Most recently, the firm used the belt skimmer at a retail service station in the Cleveland, Ohio area as an interim corrective action required by the State Fire Marshal’s office, who oversees U.S. EPA-mandated cleanup programs. The station has a 1,000-gallon underground holding tank for used motor oil. Oil, either from the tank or nearby residents who have dumped spent oil, leaked into the backfill as well as the soil surrounding the tank and contaminated the groundwater. The PetroXtractor recovered about one to two gallons of oil daily.

Chemviron plans to use the Abanaki belt skimmer to recover oil-based hydraulic fluids used in service station automotive lifts and found at garage sites. Additionally, the firm may use oil skimming as a preemptive strategy to improve removing oil from water, grease, fuel and solvents from wastewater in wash bay sumps of many automotive service shops. With adequate hydrocarbon removal, the sump fluid may be allowed to drain into a municipal sanitary sewer system. Otherwise oil skimming may be a crucial step in recycling the fluid. The latter option would eliminate the cost and liability of fluid disposal.

Edited for length: Published in Environmental Protection