Why You May Need an Oil and Water Separator

If you operate a business in which both water and oil are used in the process, it is highly likely that you have at least one application in which oil water separators are needed. Simply taking a walk through the facility and looking for operations in which oil and water has a chance of getting mixed can clue you in on possible places where one of these units may be needed. Companies like Greenleaf Filtration can provide you with all sizes of these devices for a variety of applications.


Air compressors are among the pieces of equipment that could benefit from one of these separators. Water condensate that comes from the air lines can sometimes be contaminated with lubricating oil that is used in the compressor. In most cases, the condensate can be discharged to a drain or even a storm water discharge point. The presence of oil, however, can prevent these discharges from being allowed. Separating the oil out to where the water is clean can prevent some serious compliance issues.

Companies that use some water-based fluids for metalworking or other purposes often choose to install separators on the tanks to remove excess oil. The machines that use these fluids are also likely to use lubricating or hydraulic oils. Over time, these machines tend to leak oil into the metalworking fluid. While much of the oil will become emulsified into the coolant, not all of it will. To allow the oil to stay in the coolant will shorten its life and interfere with performance. Consequently, the cost of installing something to separate the oil will more than be offset by the savings. In addition, the oil that is separated is likely to be recyclable.


Many oil separators utilize carbon filtration to be effective. The oil is absorbed by the carbon making the water clean enough to meet most effluent limitations. These units can often be purchased in designs that do not require external power. This lends itself to simplicity in the installation and operation. Often, they are equipped with a pre-filter that will extend the life of the carbon. While there are other methods of separating the oil from the water, you may want to look into the efficiency of carbon filtration before making your final decision.

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