Compressed Air Condensate Disposal

Compressed Air Condensate Disposal

When you are working with a compressed air system, it’s important to understand the risk of compressor condensate if you want to get the best from your system. Letting compressed air condensate affect your set up can have a significant impact on the compressed air system, and compressed air supply, reducing efficiency and quality.

In this article, we’ll take you through some of the most important compressed air condensate information you need to know and highlight the purpose of having the best condensate disposal. Read on to find out more!

Understanding Compressed Air Condensate

In short, compressed air condensate is the moisture collected in the air compressor system that looks like water. However, in reality, this compressor condensate is a mixture of oil, water, and dirt, which can have a detrimental impact on your air compressor.

Compressor condensate is made when the air compressor is at work, purifying the air that is produced for your use. As oil and other types of moisture are removed from the ambient air  during the air compression process, they are stored in a s specific area of the compressed air equipment, ready for disposal.

Failing to understand how to deal with condensate drains can result in the air compressor system becoming faulty, slow, or potentially failing completely, making proper disposal an essential part of your system processes.

The Impact of Condensate on Equipment and Environment

There are plenty of reasons why it’s necessary to monitor condensate build up so that you can work on removing excessive moisture. However, one of the most important reasons is to avoid damaging the performance of your compressor rooms, pneumatic systems, motors, valves, and other equipment due to contamination from the condensate. However, the right drain valves and oil water separators require regular maintenance to ensure they are complying with the discharge notice supplied by the local water authority operating in your area.

Incorrect disposal of condensate from your air compressor can lead to clogs in your sewage system, hazards from leaked condensate on the floors, wider drainage issues in the locality, and contamination of plants, water sources, and even wildlife.

Failing to adhere to legal regulations when it comes to dealing with your air compressor output, could result in a fine of up to £20,000, significant damage to your company’s reputation, and the potential loss of clients in the future.

To avoid this, it’s important to regularly inspect the condensate drains and see where they lead, ensuring that they all lead to an oil water separator. However, the right drain valves and oil water separators for your system require regular maintenance, to ensure they also comply with your discharge notice.

Condensate Management and Condensate Treatment

All compressed air systems need an air compressor condensate management system to run successfully. Once you have checked your rotary screw air compressor and worked out where your drains, oil water separator, and foul water drain systems are located, you can then plan how best to manage your system. If, at this point, you find that your system is releasing waste into a storm water drain, or even just into a standard plastic container, then you must take action immediately.

There are a number of different methods you can choose from when planning the proper disposal of excess moisture and condensate from your system. These include gravity fed carbon filters, chemical separating oil processes, and more. Choosing the right disposal method for your needs depends on your compressor system installation, whether you have the correct equipment, and whether you need to provide completely automatic drainage or not.

Most compressor installations will experience issues with hot and humid air and a full wet tank if you fail to deal with the condensate that is created. In reality, there are many reasons why you should look to remove excessive moisture from your facility, especially when you want production to run smoothly.

In most air compressors water flows into the air receiver, along with the compressed air, as a mist. The air receiver is an important part of the system, as it helps to lower the water content of the compressed air. The air receiver is cooled by ambient air, making the tank’s ambient temperature cooler than the hot compressed air coming from the compressor unit. It’s not only the air receiver doing the hard work in this situation, the wet air receivers in the wet tank are also vital components as they collect any excess liquid ready for drainage. 

Not all compressor users will know this, but a simple oil water separator solution is the best way forward. The main benefits of an oil water separator include:

  • Removing oil and dirt through water separator technology, helping to keep oil injected technology from contaminating the system, and ensuring that your oil injected compressor works as you need it to.
  • Improving the safety of your facility with less risk of damage and accidents when oil water separators do their job well. This means that remaining water flows can be trusted and you can look forward to quality air solutions, as well as a reduced risk of fires, and even explosions.
  • Reducing waste from your system as condensate water involves removing all contaminants, which adheres to your local authority’s discharge notice and enables the water that is removed to be reused or discharged without environmental impact.
  • Adhering to legal requirements by installing oil water separators that work hard to keep contaminants at bay and allow you to run your business without fear of fines or legal action.

In short, not only is incorrect condensate disposal detrimental to both the environment and your legal compliance, but it will also cause issues for other parts of your compressed air system, reducing the longevity of your machinery, and costing you more than necessary in the long run.

When it comes to understanding the legal aspects of condensate disposal, it’s important to be aware that UK law is tough on environmental issues, working hard to keep companies in line with regulations. Any business that needs to dispose of condensate must have consent to discharge from a local water authority. This will allow you to send the waste water to a foul drain once the oil water separators have done their work.

There have been instances where companies have been found to store waste water in plastic containers or a water filled sponge, with this type of action resulting in significant oversight from the authorities. There is even the possibility of finding your operation closed down while the right systems are installed.

In addition to the consent to discharge, and ensuring that your systems are all working properly, you must also have a registered ‘Hazardous Waste Producer’ or ‘Licensed Waste Carrier’ for waste oil disposal.

Practical Tips for Condensate Disposal

It’s clear that choosing the best disposal solution is the only way to ensure that your air compressor system is working the way you need it to. Take a look at our top three tips for condensate disposal below:

Ensure Compliance with Regulations

There are strict legal requirements for dealing with condensate and how you can dispose of the excessive moisture produced by your system. Take the time to work with your local water authority to understand the rules for your area and ensure that everything, from the air motors to the refrigerant dryers, is working in line with requirements, as well as ensuring that waste is sent into the foul water drain, and not the rain water drain.

Undertake Regular Maintenance

Even when you have invested in the best system and ensured that everything is legally compliant, it is still important to undertake regular checks and maintenance of every component of your system.

Liquid level sensors, air dryers, compressor lubricant, atmospheric pressure dew point, and all of the other essential components, must be properly checked and cared for to help you get the best results and avoid wasting your compressed air.

Source the Right Management Solution

Our final tip is to take the time to find the right condensate management solution for your specific needs. With so many options to choose from, it can be hard to know which to pick for your set up, but the team at Control Gear would be happy to help.

We can work with you to understand your air compressor condensate needs and find the perfect solution to help keep your pressure dew point at the right level, and each component working at its best for your needs.

Compressed Air Condensate Disposal
Compressed Air System

Speak to Control Gear Today

It’s clear that condensate from your compressed air system needs to be disposed of correctly to avoid infringing water pollution regulations, as well as keeping your system running properly. At Control Gear, we can help by suggesting practical solutions, enabling users to adhere to stringent environmental laws related to compressed air flow and condensate.

If you are ready to review your current processes and are committed to avoiding heavily contaminated systems and environmentally hazardous waste, we can help you find the best possible solution with only minimal maintenance requirements.

Contact our team for a comprehensive condensate management solution tailored to your needs.