Top Tank Wash in Midwest Uses Abanaki Oil Tank Skimmers to Save Costs (and Stay in Compliance)

Model 4 Oil Tank Skimmer Handles Oil Removal for Busy Food-Grade Wash Station

From a key location about midway between Indianapolis and Chicago, Kankakee Tank Wash services companies from all over the United States, providing high quality interior washing of food-grade trailers. Kankakee’s two bay operation is certified not only as a food-grade wash station for a variety of cargo—from liquid commodities to dry bulk—but also as a Kosher wash station.

Meeting stringent standards

“A lot of haulers coming up from the south or the West Coast switch their loads on the return trip. For example, a run bringing orange juice up from Florida often will carry milk back on the return trip,” Tim Ryan, president of Kankakee Tank Wash, explained. “So we adhere to extremely stringent wash requirements in order to prevent cross-contamination of different cargo.”

General food industry standards require the inside of a tank be residue-free of any prior incompatible cargo. Kosher standards require the tanks be free of any cargo residue incompatible according to Orthodox Jewish dietary laws. And, of course, all food-grade tanks need to be kept free of all possible contaminants such as mold, bacteria and rust.

Kankakee Tank Wash uses a computerized wash system that sits right inside the trailer to ensure thorough cleaning and rinsing even for areas that would otherwise be hard to reach, such as the top inner portion of the tank. With a small amount of manual preparation, the wash system computerizes the entire cycle, from a food-grade wash and sanitized rinse through blow dry. It is even programmable to cleanse specific cargo loads.

The wash station handles about 45 trailers a day over two shifts. The high level of business requires approximately 15,000 gallons of water per day. Increasingly stringent regulations governing food-grade tank washing such as the EPA’s Safe Drinking Water Act have required specific steps for the removal of vegetable oils, greases, and animal fats from Kankakee’s wastewater stream. Moreover, the local sanitary sewer system does not allow oily wastewater, a common challenge for tank washing facilities. Ryan had inherited a system of chemical treatments when he first came on the job, but quickly found the process too cost-prohibitive.

Discovering the Abanaki advantage

Then Ryan read about Abanaki in a trade magazine, and became interested in learning more about a process described as effective and cost-effective oil skimming. Oil skimming makes use of the differences in specific gravity between oil and water to attract oil and other hydrocarbon liquids from the water’s surface. This makes it highly effective for facilities that need to process organic waste from wash water in a very efficient and cost-effective manner.

The company sent a salesperson to assess the facility and explain how their industry-leading skimmers might be well suited to Kankakee’s situation.

“The folks at Abanaki were terrific,” Ryan said. “They explained the basics, and they walked through the facility with us. Together, we decided on the best set up.”

Ryan first selected the Tote-It Portable Oil Skimmer that removes about 12 gallons of oil per hour through a continuous belt and wiper action. Because it is so small, the Kankakee crew found it easy to move it from one bay to another. The unit proved to be low maintenance and effective. As the operation grew, however, Ryan asked Abanaki if they could recommend a larger unit to keep up with the increased capacity. The decision was made to go with the Abanaki Model 4 Oil Grabber. Removing up to 20 gallons of oil per hour, the Model 4 is still ideal for applications like mobile equipment washing facilities where excess space is often at a premium. From a mere shimmer on top of water to a heavy oil slick, the Model 4 utilizes a continuous belt and wiper to remove the contaminants, often reducing oil content to less than five parts per million in water.

Real Results

Ryan acknowledges that the Model 4 is effective in processing wastewater from both bays. The unit is mounted on the floor where both bays can drain into it. The belt, operating on a motor and pulley system, runs through contaminated liquid to pick up oil from the surface. After traveling over the head pulley, the belt passes through tandem wiper blades where oil is scraped off both sides of the belt and discharged into a 350-gallon tank. Once a week, the container is taken out via forklift to a roll-off dumpster and the contents are properly disposed.

“Abanaki has kept us in compliance,” Ryan said, “and helped us save money, too. Our costs associated with removal and disposal run about 40% less than with the other methods we tried.”