Oil Sludge Removal from Oil Tanks

If you have oil tanks in your facility, eventually you’ll have to clean the tanks and remove the oil sludge.  Sometimes this oil sludge is referred to as Tank Bottoms.

"Removing oil sludge from an oil tank is very dangerous work.  We trust each other with our lives when we're doing confined space entry," shares Dave Coughlin, AWS Industrial Services Project Manager.

“Removing oil sludge from an oil tank is very dangerous work. We trust each other with our lives when we’re doing confined space entry,” shares Dave Coughlin, AWS Industrial Services Project Manager.

Maybe you use the oil in a manufacturing process such as machining, drawing, stamping or quenching. Or maybe you store automotive oils, hydraulic oils, lubricants, metalworking oils, heat transfer oils or dielectric oils.

Regardless of the manufacturing process, you’ll likely have these 3 problems to overcome before you can remove the tank bottoms or oil sludge.

  • First – Determine if the oil sludge is hazardous or non-hazardous.
  • Second – Determine the disposal or recycling option that aligns with your sustainability goals.
  • Third – Find a company that is experienced in confined space entry tank cleaning, efficient at removing oil sludge and has a network of disposal and oil recycling options.
Above two vac boxes and a high-powered vacuum truck keep a sludge removal project on time and within budget.

Above two vac boxes and a high-powered vacuum truck keep a sludge removal project on time and within budget.

Is your oil sludge hazardous or non-hazardous

Because of the Rebuttable Presumption for Used Oil CFR 279.44, the used oil or oily wastewater needs to be tested.  If there are hazardous constituents in the oil, it’s likely you will have to dispose as a hazardous waste, unless an exception exists.

The first step in disposing or recycling used oil is determine if it's hazardous or non hazardous. CFR 279.44 outlines the specifics of the Rebuttable Presumption for used oil.

The first step in disposing or recycling used oil is determining if it’s hazardous or non hazardous. CFR 279.44 outlines the specifics of the Rebuttable Presumption for used oil.

Situation 1, if the used oil testing confirms less than 1000 ppm total halogen the used oil is presumed non-hazardous and managed as a non-hazardous waste.

Sr. Lab Manager, Bill Fowler checks the metals percentages using an ICP.

Sr. Lab Manager, Bill Fowler checks the metals percentages of a metal workings fluid using an ICP.  This ensures we discharge the reclaimed water from the oily wastewater within our permit standards.

Situation 2, if the used oil testing confirms greater than 1000 ppm total halogen, then the used oil is presumed to be hazardous.  If additional testing confirms HVOC compounds are less than 100 ppm then presumed non-hazardous and managed as a non-hazardous waste.  However, if the HVOC compounds are greater than 100 ppm the used oil is a hazardous waste and managed as a hazardous waste.

Situation 3, if the used oil is mixed with a hazardous waste, then the used oil is a hazardous waste and managed as such.

The mixing of a hazardous waste into non-hazardous used oil or oily wastewater is usually accidental, but considerable costly.  Review your used oil process to make sure your used oil is indeed a hazardous waste.

Recycling options that aligns with your sustainability goals

Advanced Waste Services locations in Wisconsin, Iowa and Pennsylvania have a state-of-the-art oil recycling system.  The system allows us to extract more oil value from used oil and oily wastewater, thereby reducing costs to our clients.

3 large oily wastewater treatment tanks

At our Milwaukee facility, Mark stands in front of 3 large oil and water separation tanks. He’s explaining how we separate oil from water in our oily wastewater processing system.

If you have used oil or oily wastewater with high levels of water (90%), high amounts of solids (30%) and high levels of chlorinated parrafins, some environmental companies might recommend the landfill for disposal.  But we designed our oil recycling system to extract the oil and water from these types of waste streams, so you can meet your sustainability goals and not dispose in the landfill. Instead the oil and water will be reclaimed and reused.

Experience in confined space entry

Your oil tank cleaning will require a 3 man CSE trained team, a high pressure water blaster and a high powered vacuum truck.  But besides equipment and proper training, experience will be paramount to the success of this project.

You likely have a deadline to meet, a budget to stay under and safety goals to maintain.  If something goes awry during the cleaning project you might miss your deadline.

If your deadline gets pushed out, you’ll spend more time completing the project and you’ll be over budget.  And if the team performing the oil sludge removal isn’t experienced with the water blaster an injury might be waiting to happen and your safety record will be at risk.

In the foreground is water blaster.  "The water is pressured to 15,000 psi, travels through 150 feet of hose where the operator wields "the gun" and breaks up sludge and solids inside a tank," shares Tom Wendler, AWS Pennsylvania GM.

In the foreground is the water blaster. “The water is pressured to 15,000 psi, travels through 150 feet of hose where the operator controls “the gun” and breaks up sludge and solids inside a tank,” shares Tom Wendler, AWS Pennsylvania GM.

Advanced Waste Services is a leader in CSE tanking cleaning and oil sludge removal.  We believe in experience, training and doing what is right. When our team is onsite you’ll be impressed by their work ethic, but even more by their results.

To learn more about Advanced Waste Services oil sludge removal and tank cleaning services visit our website or call us at 800-842-9792.

Advanced Waste Services | 800-842-9792

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