oil removal Oil Removal with organoclay
droplet Supplying Environmentally Friendly Technology for Oil Removal

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About Using Organoclay for Oil Removal


Oil Removal with Organoclays

The use of organoclay for oil removal was characterized as an emerging water treatment technology as early as 1994. Suggesting the possibility of using granular media in adsorbent columns, early studies indicated that the more promising application lay in adding powdered organoclay to a waste stream, followed by a conventional wastewater coagulation, flocculation and sedimentation process. This type of process is frequently used with powdered activated carbon.

As the technology has advanced, several entities now manufacture or market a granular organoclay for water treatment and a few have marketed their product for treating oilfield produced water. These products typically contain approximately 30% granular organoclay and 70% carbon in the form of GAC or anthracite, which provides a support bed for the organoclay media. The use of a mixed adsorbent medium mitigates the swelling of organoclay when it is contacted by hydrocarbons. Intermixed GAC or anthracite also allows the product to be used as a single-package adsorbent with excellent treatment characteristics. On the other hand, bed life is considerably reduced.

Removing oil contamination from water is a common problem with oilfield produced water as well as with stormwater runoff. Typical stormwater runoff is often contaminated with oil, benzene, toluene, ethlybenzene, and xylene (BTEX), fuels and other contaminants from rooftops and pavement.

Treatment systems and plants are therefore being installed or even required at runoff collection points by many cities in respsonse to this concern. Most of these systems include oil-water separators and large filtration systems, however although the norm, these systems have limitations. While oil-water separators are effective in removing oil from heavily contaminated source waters, they cannot reduce the oil level to a adequate level for discharge, and filtration systems are saturated with oils in extremely short periods of time. Using an organoclay such as Aqua Technologies ET-1 Activated Clay alone can effectively remove oils to a level far lower than oil-water separators alone. When source waters are heavy with oil, organoclay used downstream of an oil water separator is extremely effective.

Organoclay is modified with quaternary amines to create the ability to remove oils and other compounds with low water solubility from water. Typically organoclay is used in granular form, blended with anthracite. To ensure maximum effectiveness, the material is then placed into a system combination with granular activated carbon acting as a post-polisher. With the ability to remove seven times more oil than activated carbon alone, this treatment is both effective with oils as well as with the removal of benzene, toluene, ethlybenzene, and xylene.

This technology can also be equipped on a trailer to act as a mobile treatment system. Installing a adsorber vessel with organoclay and an additional vessel with granular activated carbon, an effective mobile treatment system could be established. An additional oil-water separator could be added as well to combat heavily polluted waters. Cities without stormwater run-off issues large enough to justify permanent installations could use such a system to treat problem areas immediately after a heavy rainfall.


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