Investigation of Southwestern Oil and Refinery's Effluent and Disposal Area - Pollution Abatement in Region V


Southwest Oil and Refinery, located at Corpus Christi, has a toxic waste present in its cooling water waste. The phenols, sulfides and oxygen demanding sludge are not sufficiently reduced by plant treatment methods to a concentration which can be tolerated by aquatic organisms. However, the waste flows through a series of earthen pits which allow additional oxidation of the chemicals, thereby decreasing the concentration of toxic compounds and increasing the median tolerance limit of the waste to 85 per cent. The toxic materials are reduced further by mixing with basin water in a retention pond in the harbor waste and the final wsate is non-toxic to marine life in Corpus Christi harbor. The API gravity separators in the plant do not retain waste oil efficiently. An emulsified oil, with a specific gravity approximately equal to water, forms by oil globules attaching to suspended solids in the water. This emulsion forms a heavy, oily sludge that flows out of the API separators, through the earthen pits and into the basin. This sludge has a high oxygen consuming value which reduced the dissolved oxygen content to a range of 0.0 ppm. to 2.0 ppm. at Station 2. The company plans to reduce this oily sludge by saturating the effluent with oxygen in air tanks and releasing it through a perforated line into the earthen pits. This oxygen saturated waste will float the emulsified oil to the surface thereby increasing the skimming capacity of the pits.


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petroleum refinery waste, toxic waste, industrial waste, water pollution