Oil Water Separator & Compliance

Enviro H2O, oil water separator

Trade waste is any liquid or wastewater produced by an industrial or commercial activity at any business premises. Liquid waste or trade waste must conform to councils set limits to be accepted for discharge to sewer. For businesses that generate oily wastewater, an oil water separator can be an effective and economical way to treat the wastewater and make it compliant to be discharged into the sewerage system. A trade waste site assessment is conducted by the council for every business. In this article, we explore a 5-step plan to make sure your business has the best chance of being compliant.

Step 1: Do You Need an Oil Water Separator?

Any business that plans to create wastewater must install and maintain an oil water separator. Some of these businesses include:

  • Transportation fueling facilities
  • Vehicle or equipment repair workshop
  • Businesses with washbays
  • Quick-lube stations
  • Businesses using steam or pressure washers

You can check out some of the industries that require OWS from two of our blog posts: Oil Water Separator Range and Workshop Trade Waste

Step 2: Taking Care of Your Stormwater Regulations

It is the responsibility of the business owner to ensure that effluent from the washbay/work area and pre-treatment devices drain only to sewer and not the stormwater systems. In order to do that, any outdoor washbay should be roofed and pre-treatment devices should be installed according to compliance with discharge conditions. If, however, the washbay is not covered by a roof, Enviro Concepts can install a rain diversion system with their washpads to ensure that trade waste and storm water are directed correctly.

Step 3: Choosing the Right Type of Oil Water Separator

Enviro H2O, Oil Water Separator


When purchasing an oil water separator, it is important to start by assessing what is in your wastewater and what would be the most suitable option for you. An oil water separator is required to reduce the quantities of solids, oil, grease, and hydrocarbons entering the sewer. You can use our free checklist to make your assessment. The three most common types of separators are:

  • Coalescing Plate Separator – The OWS contains corrugated plates that are angled to allow for separation to occur, allowing the solid waste to sink and oils to float. These are most widely accepted as the best, most efficient, lowest maintenance professional and industrial separators.
  • Vertical Tube Separator – The vertical tube separator uses Vertical Tube Pack (VTP) technology that facilitates superior flow characteristics and coalescing separation of oil from water.
  • Vertical Gravity Separator – The VGS uses gravity to separate oils and solids from wastewater. The Vertical Gravity Separator is faster than Coalescing Plate Separator and is able to remove smaller particles
  • Hydrocyclones – The Hydrocyclone uses the centrifugal force to separate fluids of different densities, oil from water. It is a versatile, low cost and high performance OWS.

If you want to assess what OWS is the best option for you, you can check with one of our consultants. In all cases, choose the Oil Water Separator that will help you be compliant with council regulations.

Step 4: Installation and Maintenance of Oil Water Separator

Before you use your newly installed oil water separator, make sure you apply for a Trade Waste Permit and get it inspected. A Trade Waste Permit is a written permission from your local council to discharge treated wastewater to sewer. Discharge to sewer cannot occur until you have a trade waste certificate in hand.

A separator is an integral part of equipment for workshops or businesses who produce suspended solids and oily wastewater. Regulatory bodies are authorised to take samples of wastewater to ensure that contaminants are being captured by the separator. In order to do that, regular servicing is required.

Enviro Concepts provides easy install service to clients for their washbay and water treatment packages. Most often, the install only takes a single day. However, our products are often skid mounted and very easy to install, especially if it is our SIOS Water Treatment Discharge Package. A training and operations manual is provided to the client at handover. We also offer maintenance packages to ensure that the products are working optimally to help our clients stay compliant.

Step 5: Get A Complete System

Enviro Concepts, Oil Water Separator

There is a set of requirements that you need to assess in order to design an oil water separator unit for your premises. These requirements include proximity to the sewer, the flow rate of your wastewater and other facts such as how dirty it is. You can find a list of requirements in our free checklist. One of our most popular and cost effective system is the SIOS (Solids Interceptor Oil Separator) that comes with its own pump, solids settling tank, oil water separator, electrical switch isolator with pump and float connection, all neatly set out as a modular, skid-mounted unit. By providing the entire system in a skid-mounted, modular and relocatable plant, the client does not have to struggle with the site design, long installation time, large maintenance cost and most importantly, any compliance challenges.

Contact us to discuss the right OWS system for your business.