Oily Water Treatment: How to Treat Water Using Specialized Electrocoagulation Technology

Oily Water Treatment: How to Treat Water Using Specialized Electrocoagulation Technology

All oils are organic in origin but have different chemical compounds and structures. Crude oils are the byproducts of organisms exposed to high temperatures and pressures over millions of years. These are mainly comprised of hydrocarbon compounds. Oils produced by plants, animals, and other organisms are formed by natural metabolic processes and are made up of lipids.

However, as useful as oil is in our everyday lives and within industry, it is not something that is desired in wastewater. So, how does it end up in wastewater? Why is it harmful? What are the oily water treatment methods?

Issues from oily wastewater

Like many wastewater contaminants, oils are harmful to the surrounding environment in excessive quantities. These compounds cause problems with aquatic and plant life, including killing fish, leaving birds and mammals susceptible to hypothermia or overheating, and damage and stunted plant growth, which also negatively impacts wildlife. Oils can also cause adverse health effects to humans and can cause clogging in pipes.

How Electrocoagulation can treat it

Oily wastewater comes in a few different forms and require different oil and grease removal methods. Floating oils are seen when oil and water have fully separated out. This occurs naturally and fairly quickly thanks to both oil’s proclivity to coalesce and its specific gravity being less than water. However, oil can be emulsified within water as well. When broken into small droplets, oil can remain suspended within the solution for a time period. Emulsions can occur by mechanical means, like whisking a pot of oil and water, but these are unstable emulsions that will separate out quickly, leaving only the smallest droplets suspended. Chemical emulsions on the other hand typically introduce an emulsifier that stabilizes the suspension by reducing the forces between the droplets and the water. Separation can still occur, however, it will occur much more slowly.

To learn more about Electrocoagulation (EC) we recommend you to read this text:
Beverage & Food Wastewater Treatment: 4 Advantages of Electrocoagulation

Read more about this process in the link below.