5 Facilities That Use Oil-Water Separators

One of the most effective, useful and needed pieces of industrial equipment today is an oil-water separator. This unit uses the variations in the densities of oil and water to separate the fluids into different channels. They are used across a very broad spectrum of industries. Here are five facilities that use oil-water separators.

Petroleum Refineries

About 9 million barrels of crude oil are generated every day through various means. Most of that oil needs to be refined in the country. Petroleum refineries must have oil-water separators as part of the larger facility due to industry regulations. This is because a large amount of the oil spills, leaks from pipes or is intentionally disposed of on a daily basis often going into drains with wastewater. The separators help to extract it later.


There are 87,000 flights every day over the country. Most of those flights will land and refuel at an airport. This is why airports need to have oil-water separators on the runways. Fuel can leak or spill during the refueling process. Some also leaks during maintenance. Oil-water separators allow workers to wash away the oil with hoses into a drain without worrying about contaminating the local water supply.

Auto Repair Shops

Auto repair shops are facilities that usually have oil-water separators if they can service more than one or two cars at a time. A large amount oil from the various parts of a vehicle will fall onto the floor of the garage during the day. That oil often finds a way into the drains in the floor intended for water runoff. The oil-water separators extract the oil so that it can be collected and reused or disposed of properly by the repair shop.

Military Bases

Military bases must always have oil-water separators because of the equipment kept on site. Military bases are designed to be efficient and functional although they are not always environmentally friendly. A large amount of oil in various forms can make it into the drains of the base during vehicle maintenance, fuel deliveries or as a result of minor accidents. The bases are often in residential or civilian areas meaning the water needs to be purified. Oil-water separators let military bases operate normally without affecting the water supply of the surrounding area.

Large Parking Garages

Large commercial parking garages frequently use oil-water separators. This is because parked cars can leak fuel and other chemicals onto the ground. The amount can be very large considering how many vehicles a typical multilevel garage can hold. The oil or fuel is then washed away when the staff cleans the parking garage later. An oil-water separator catches all of that oil so that it does not make it into the residential water supply.