Oil Water Separator – Make Wastewater Filtration More Efficient

An example of an oil separator in a wastewater filtration facility

Oil water separators are devices that are used mostly in wastewater filtration facilities to treat wastewater to a level where it is deemed safe for disposal into an approved discharge area, which is normally the sewer. The equipment removes oils, grease and other hydrocarbons resulting to non-toxic water that can safely be disposed in the drainage pool.

This equipment is vital if your business regularly produces:

  • Wastewater as part of routine operations
  • Discharge of wastewater into a public drain
  • Going for water authority compliance certification

The type of oil water separator needed by any business entity will depend largely on the type of wastewater being produced and the requirements of the local water authority.

Kinds of Oil Water Separators

Oil water separators are normally divided into 4 groups namely:

  1. Coalescing
  2. Vertical Gravity
  3. Hydrocyclone
  4. Petrol and oil interceptor pits

All devices function the same, which is to treat wastewater to a point where it is deemed safe to discharge in a normal public drain. However, they do vary in the way they achieve this objective.

How it Works


This is by far the most commonly used variant. Coalescing oil water separators can remove oils, grease and hydrocarbons from wastewater while at the same time adhere to predefined discharge principles. Media packs are placed in two stages in order to force oil droplets to encroach on surface area. Upon impingement upon the media, the oil droplets rise to the surface and are simply skimmed off onto a waste oil container.


Hydrocyclone oil water separators function by allowing wastewater through a “cyclone chamber” and then apply extreme centrifugal forces. The resulting intense force causes the water and oil to separate from one another.

Petrol and Oil Interceptor

The system normally features two to three compartment gravity flow systems that work on the premise that hydrocarbons, petrol and diesel tend to float above the water. Applying this principle, the contaminants can be separated from one another and then simply skimmed off.

Industries and Businesses that Normally Use Oil Water Separators include:

  • Car repair shops
  • Service stations
  • Car dealerships
  • Commercial car washes
  • Mining
  • Construction
  • Food Processing

These are just some of the businesses and industries where these devices are applied. However, they can be used in other sectors, when and where treatment of wastewater is needed.

Importance of Oil Water Separators As Part of Wastewater Filtration

An oil water separator is an effective way of wastewater filtration

Our waterways and sources of fresh water are finite. While the earth is made up mostly of water, only 3% of that is potable or fresh water. Everyday, we dump contaminants into the land and water causing groundwater contamination. The discharge of untreated wastewater into public drains and local estuaries causes significant damage to the environment. Polluted water destroys natural flora and fauna and can have a long-term deleterious effect on the ecosystem, making fresh clean drinking water to become scarcer.

It is therefore no surprise that government-regulating bodies like the US Environmental Protection Agency have strict guidelines on the discharge of wastewater from commercial operations . Local water authorities enforce these guidelines.

If you want to learn more about oil water separators and water filtration services, you may want to call the experts at ProAct USA.