Biological Oil / Water Separation

Our machines transform hydro-carbon contaminated water into the following:

  1. Clean effluent (water), and
  2. Fertile compost.

Both products being highly desirable in arid countries.

Why a Biological / Oil Water Separator?

We identified the need for an efficient, quiet, passive oil / water separator that does not require vast amounts of electricity to function.

With our passion to bring sophisticated green technologies to the market it is a logical progression to introduce the ESS Biological Oil / Water Separator.

These units are designed to cater for any industry that generates hydrocarbon contaminated effluents e.g. mining, engineering, manufacturing, car washes food processing etc. Each installation is site specific.

The Separation Mechanism:

The design incorporates several recognized, tried and tested, separation technologies whilst adhering to Stokes’ Law in all respects.

By using Stokes’ Law to define the rise velocity of oil droplets based on their density and size, the operation of the separator is based on the specific gravity difference between the hydrocarbon and the waste water because the difference is much smaller than the specific gravity difference between the suspended solids and water.

The processes applied include gravitation, flotation, coalescence, skimming, aeration, media filtration and polishing of the effluent.

Six process chambers are used in our unit as opposed to the norm of three. This is a key element to its highly efficient operation.

The Biological Mechanism:

Our proprietary blend of hydro-carbon consuming microbes is introduced at the influent end of the machine. The microbes then infiltrate the hydro-carbon component of the influent and travel along with the flow.

These microbes are NON-PATHOGENIC, indigenous, human, animal and aquatic-life safe.

A certain percentage of these microbes attach themselves to the lamella plate pack in the receiving chamber, and consume to some degree, the passing droplets of hydro-carbon.

The balance of the microbes is carried along with the skimmed hydro-carbon into the bio-digester where they attack in earnest, reducing the hydro-carbons to a fertile compost. This composting process averages around ninety days.

The compost harvested from the bio-digester is highly fertile, organic and suitable for use in gardening or agriculture.

What happens to the water?

Once the water has passed through the various process chambers it enters the final polishing chamber where any trace elements of hydro-carbons are absorbed by a pillow containing a specially formulated, proprietary material.

This non-leaching material encapsulates the hydro-carbons, rendering a clean and usable effluent. The effluent (water) is then in a harvested state and ready for re-cycling as process water.

The quality of this water is far in excess of legislated effluent standards.

Once the polishing pillow has reached its absorption capacity, it is removed and safely disposed of through normal refuse channels. Alternatively, the pillow can be tossed into a furnace, thereby adding some BTU value.

The water quality is finished according to the client specification and desire (orange drop, green drop, blue drop etc).


These units are completely serviceable. Every single component can be removed and serviced on site, with minimal downtime.

The service life of our unit is indeterminate, as components are easily replaced and there are no moving parts. The bio-digester is populated with the appropriate microbes on commissioning, and these need replenishment’s on a twice monthly basis.

The standard maintenance agreement provides for us to visit the site twice per month. We would shut the system down for approximately one hour and during this period the sludge tanks would be flushed, all coalescing plates and packs removed and cleaned as required, skimmer depths tuned to flow rate and the microbes replenished.

Additional Options

  1. Effluent disinfection: a dosing pump and disinfectant reservoir can be installed on the outflow end of the machine. We recommend the use of an environmentally friendly and natural disinfectant. Chlorine, chloramine and sodium hypochlorite although universally used in water disinfection, are not recommended.
  2. Telemetry: a telemetry pack can be installed to remotely monitor the performance of the machine. There is a choice of measurements that can be performed e.g.; TDS, turbidity, cod, dissolved oxygen etc.

The GSM unit is capable of sending an alarm SMS to a maximum of eight different cell phone numbers should any of these measurements go out of parameter.

Schematic of a typical installation: