Forecourt separators are full retention separators specified to retain on site the maximum spillage likely to occur on a petrol filling station. They are required for both safety and environmental reasons and will treat spillages occurring during vehicle refuelling and road tanker delivery. The size of the separator is increased in order to retain the possible loss of the contents of one compartment of a road tanker, which may be up to 7,600 litres.
The Environment Regulators, Environment Agency, England and Wales, SEPA, Scottish Environmental Protection Agency in Scotland and Department of Environment & Heritage in Northern Ireland, have published guidance on surface water disposal, which offers a range of means of dealing with pollution both at source and at the point of discharge from site (so called ‘end of pipe’ treatment). These techniques are known as ‘Sustainable Drainage Systems’ (SuDS).
Where run-off is draining from relatively low risk areas such as car-parks and non-operational areas, a source control approach, such as permeable surfaces or infiltration trenches, may offer a suitable means of treatment, removing the need for a separator.
Oil separators are installed on surface water drainage systems to protect receiving waters from pollution by oil, which may be present due to minor leaks from vehicles and plant, from accidental spillage.
Effluent from industrial processes and vehicle washing should normally be discharged to the foul sewer (subject to the approval of the sewerage undertaker) for further treatment at a municipal treatment works.
Separator Standards and Types
A British (and European) standard (BS EN 858-1 and 858-2) for the design and use of prefabricated oil separators has been adopted. New prefabricated separators should comply with the standard.
The standard refers to two ‘classes’ of separator, based on performance under standard test conditions.
Designed to achieve a concentration of less than 5mg/l of oil under standard test conditions, should be used when the separator is required to remove very small oil droplets.
Designed to achieve a concentration of less than 100mg/l oil under standard test conditions and are suitable for dealing with discharges where a lower quality requirement applies (for example where the effluent passes to foul sewer).
Both classes can be produced as full retention or bypass separators. The oil concentration limits of 5 mg/l and 100 mg/l are only applicable under standard test conditions. It should not be expected that separators will comply with these limits when operating under field conditions.