Condensate is water amongst other elements and unavoidable result of compression in the Compressed Air cycle and can cause irreversible problems and at sometimes high costs. Compressed air can hold water, oil contaminants and hydrocarbons and acidity. Condensate is removed through whether it be automated drain valves, manual or float type drains during the filtering and or drying process that is installed to which should be collected via an Oil Water Separation System.
Condensate that is collected throughout the drying and filtering process cannot be disposed of into general drainage systems as the oil levels are far too high. It is also a legal requirement to dispose of all condensate via approved means to which our systems offered qualify for this requirement.
A summary of the Legislation affecting discharge
As from 1st July 2005 in the Hazardous Waste Regulations any condensate produced from an oil lubricated air compressor must be treated as a hazardous waste material.
The water Resources Act (1991) Chapter II, para 85, (1) refers to an offence of knowingly polluting controlled waters, by disposal of poisonous, noxious or polluting mater.
Compressor Condensate falls into this category, and can render the polluter liable to fines up to
£20,000 or imprisonment for up to three months.
The legislation is aimed at the responsible person, and sanctions are taken against the individual, not the company.
The Health and safety Commission Statutory Instrument 1989, No 2169 covering Pressure Systems and Transportable Gas Containers makes it clear that as from 1994 all new installations should have condensate drainage points feeding into an oil/water separator prior to final discharge.
Other relevant legislation is 'The Water Industry Act 1991' and the 'Environmental Protection Regulations 1991'.
Finally, the British Compressed Air Society, in its publication CAC 9407 summarises the position by starting categorically that 'under no circumstances should it be permitted to discharge untreated compressed air condensate to public surface water, sewers, or to ground.
The British Compressed Air Society have produced a free fact sheet. The fact sheets can be downloaded from their website at http://www.bcas.org.uk
The regulations are clear.
The Water Resources Act stipulates the regulations for the use of water resources. The discharge of compressor condensates is prohibited without suitable processing, waste water containing typically more than 20 mg/l mineral oil into the sewage system. The legislation demands water processing corresponding at the very least to the "generally accepted engineering standards". This means a reduction to max. 20 mg/l for hydrocarbon as a guide parameter for mineral oils. Regionally, these values may be significantly lower.
"Disposal" is yesterdays technology!
Disposal carried out by companies specialising in this field is safe but expensive. Disposal costs of condensate are considerable. In addition, costs for certified collection tanks, monitoring devices, and installation work, etc. are incurred.
Processing of condensate where it accumulates!
Much simpler and, most importantly, more economical is processing of condensate right there where it accumulates. The oil- water separators TANAIR have established themselves as the standard and offer "state-of-the-art„ processing.