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Old 19-08-2015, 09:38   #16
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Re: Sheen on the water

Get several boxes of feminine napkins, soak up all the problem - put in a strong plastic bag, find an old 55 gallon drum, put napkins in drum (sans the plastic bag) and burn till there is nothing left for the EPA or state DEQ to use as evidence. Many commercial facilities burn the large absorbent pads used in oil spill cleanups. Those units are a tad expensive for pleasure sailors.
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Old 19-08-2015, 09:46   #17
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Re: Sheen on the water

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Originally Posted by thinwater View Post
Weak. And doing the right thing as actually easy.

Simply put it in buckets or similar, pad up all the oil until it is trivial, and dump the rest in the sanitary sewer, where it is treated. This is equivalent to what oily water treatment plants do (I've designed them). The POTW limit is generally 100-200 ppm (local), or about 2-4 grams or about 1/2 tsp in 5 gallons, which is quite forgiving if you have skimmed it first.
"Doing the right thing" and doing what is legal are different things.

I agree a slight sheen is trivial but per the law it's still illegal and if the wrong person sees it, they can still harrass you over it.

It's actually illegal to put petroleum products into a sanitary or storm sewer (not that they are likely to catch you if it's a slight sheen). It's been a while but I've also designed them.

Don't confuse my point. I'm against dumping oil into our waterways but it has to come with reasonable rules and harrassing people over a couple spilled drops is stupidity when there are far more effective ways to cut the oil that winds up in our waterways.
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Old 19-08-2015, 10:22   #18
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Re: Sheen on the water

Quote:
Originally Posted by thinwater View Post
Weak. And doing the right thing as actually easy.

Simply put it in buckets or similar, pad up all the oil until it is trivial, and dump the rest in the sanitary sewer, where it is treated. This is equivalent to what oily water treatment plants do (I've designed them). The POTW limit is generally 100-200 ppm (local), or about 2-4 grams or about 1/2 tsp in 5 gallons, which is quite forgiving if you have skimmed it first.
Yep, all sorts of oil goes down the kitchen drain all the time.
OP: This is what I would do:
-scrub the bilge with a brush and Joy or other high detergent.
-lightly hose it clean
-Take the oily water to the bathroom and dump it in the toilet.
other option:
-If it's mostly clean with just a bit of residue, put 5 gallons of water and detergent in your bilge. Go sailing so it washes around all day.
-pump it out on your way home. Especially if there is any wind on the water no one will ever know or care.

Container ships etc vacate their bilges regularly when coming into port. Fuel docks spill a bit every day. They are only required to use "best management practices"
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Old 19-08-2015, 11:17   #19
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Re: Sheen on the water

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Originally Posted by valhalla360 View Post
"Doing the right thing" and doing what is legal are different things.

I agree a slight sheen is trivial but per the law it's still illegal and if the wrong person sees it, they can still harass you over it.

It's actually illegal to put petroleum products into a sanitary or storm sewer (not that they are likely to catch you if it's a slight sheen). It's been a while but I've also designed them.

Don't confuse my point. I'm against dumping oil into our waterways but it has to come with reasonable rules and harassing people over a couple spilled drops is stupidity when there are far more effective ways to cut the oil that winds up in our waterways.
^^ I believe that what I described was 100% legal. You have treated the wastewater (removed the oil with pads--I did NOT suggest discharging the oil) to less than the local POTW ordnance limits and are discharging a minimal amount as a homeowner.

My point was that discharge limits for the sanitary sewer, because it is treated, are significantly more forgiving than surface discharge. No free oil, but ppm amounts of emulsified oils (not floating on top) are normal and permitted.

And yes, often it's just silly, when you consider streets and millions of leaking cars that leak just as much.
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Old 19-08-2015, 11:28   #20
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Re: Sheen on the water

Discharging emulsified oil, even in low concentration, can destroy biological filters in muni sewage treatment plants leading to far greater contaminants entering the water.

As none of us are inclined to pay higher taxes necessary to fund elimination of combined sewer overflow systems, being responsible about proper disposal, even though it is expensive, should not be so easily dismissed.

Rationalizing the indiscriminate discharge of oil, albeit in low concentration, because non- point sources are too expensive to eliminate, is irresponsible.
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Old 19-08-2015, 12:13   #21
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Re: Sheen on the water

Very simple. Take some liquid dishwashing detergent and mix in a ratio of about 1 to 5 and put in a squirt bottle. (BTW adding more detergent or using straight is less effective!!). Spray around your boat -Sheen and rainbows are GONE!!! Thank BP!
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Old 19-08-2015, 12:29   #22
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Re: Sheen on the water

Many don't realize that is biodegradable and it is actually legal to dump it at sea, just have to be far enough offshore. That is of course, unless they have come up with another set of laws that apply to US vessels world wide. Only one I know like that is about plastic but that one actually has some logic behind it.
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Old 19-08-2015, 13:23   #23
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Re: Sheen on the water

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Originally Posted by S/V Illusion View Post
Discharging emulsified oil, even in low concentration, can destroy biological filters in muni sewage treatment plants leading to far greater contaminants entering the water.

As none of us are inclined to pay higher taxes necessary to fund elimination of combined sewer overflow systems, being responsible about proper disposal, even though it is expensive, should not be so easily dismissed.

Rationalizing the indiscriminate discharge of oil, albeit in low concentration, because non- point sources are too expensive to eliminate, is irresponsible.
Remember, I said to allow time for flotation and to skim/absorb any floating oil first.

Please explain your solution. I have designed, built, and operated a million GPD of industrial treatment capacity for both pre-treatment and direct discharge, using both physical and biological treatment. The industry served was the oily water treatment business, presumably where "environmental companies" would take the waste, and most of the waste was at least 100-1000 times more contaminated than this. This is how it is done; pre-treatment to POTW permit limits under the CWT guidelines, followed by biological treatment. I simply described what environmental companies do.

The blanket statement that oil destroys biological filters (activated sludge systems) is an exaggeration and smacks of waving the bloody shirt. Discharge of excessive amounts are harmful, but that is the reason there is an ordinance. Small amounts are quite treatable. It is a matter of following the rules.

Enjoy some light reading:
http://water.epa.gov/scitech/wastetech/guide/cwt/
Click on the CWT Small Entity Compliance Guide for a brief () tutorial.
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Old 19-08-2015, 13:39   #24
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Re: Sheen on the water

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Originally Posted by CervezaE35 View Post
One of my neighbors at the Marina came to me the other day with news of a sheen on the water around my boat right after the bilge pump kicked on. Turns out the oil pressure sender blew up. I fixed it, cleaned the engine and bilge with degreaser, there are no more leaks that I can see but there is still a sheen present when the bilge kicks on. Don't smell like anything so I can't tell what it is. The only thing I can think of is that it's coming from the bilge boom leaking into the water. But I thought those thingswere to prevent just that. As you can tell I'm new to sailing so pardon my ignorance. I just want to get this to stop because for one I want to be environmentally friendly and I also hate for management at the Marina to bring it up as an issue. Thank you all for your help!

LB
I am stating the obvious (please do not call me Captain Obvious) but if it is not an external source, the sheen (dare I say "oil?") must be from within your boat, the bilge, the pump, the piping, or heaven forbid, another source (leak). All that said, I must admit I do not know what a bilge boom is. With luck a few more knowledgeable voices may respond, but it might help them to know more about your vessel without providing too many clues for the types that are more interested in fines an penalties than repairs and prevention.
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Old 19-08-2015, 13:40   #25
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Re: Sheen on the water

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Originally Posted by thinwater View Post
Remember, I said to allow time for flotation and to skim/absorb any floating oil first.

Please explain your solution. I have designed, built, and operated a million GPD of industrial treatment capacity for both pre-treatment and direct discharge, using both physical and biological treatment. The industry served was the oily water treatment business, presumably where "environmental companies" would take the waste, and most of the waste was at least 100-1000 times more contaminated than this. This is how it is done; pre-treatment to POTW permit limits under the CWT guidelines, followed by biological treatment. I simply described what environmental companies do.

The blanket statement that oil destroys biological filters (activated sludge systems) is an exaggeration and smacks of waving the bloody shirt. Discharge of excessive amounts are harmful, but that is the reason there is an ordinance. Small amounts are quite treatable. It is a matter of following the rules.

Enjoy some light reading:
Centralized Waste Treatment Effluent Guidelines | Waste Treatment | US EPA
Click on the CWT Small Entity Compliance Guide for a brief () tutorial.
STPs are the subject here. I'm unfamiliar with the job requirements of any person who "destined,built and operated" such a facility.

If you are referring to an industrial waste plant, they are always designed to accommodate a specific waste stream, sometimes including emulsified oil. That is NOT what pertains to this issue.

What treatment plant did you "design, build and operate"?
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Old 19-08-2015, 19:44   #26
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Re: Sheen on the water

What most people don't realize is that a certain amount of "lots of things" is legal and permitted as long as you apply "best management practices" as I stated earlier. The worst oil polluter around (other than accidental tanker spills etc) is parking lots. Cars leak on the lots, rain washes the lots into the rivers and seas. It's huge and legal. Ex enviro safety manager here.
if all that you have left in your bilge is a sheen on top of the bilge water it's inconsequential in the scheme of things.
I once oversaw a large spill of anti freeze that ended up in a wet land. The E P A observed it. Their comment was that it is mostly sugar and would dissipate. Nothing else could really be done.
They are most often practical people. The soil in our area is often higher in Chromium than the EPA discharge limit. They understand these things.
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Old 19-08-2015, 20:32   #27
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Re: Sheen on the water

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What treatment plant did you "design, build and operate"?
That would not be ethical to answer, my employer would not appreciate the call-out in this forum, and the question is basically rude. If you are in the industry (CWT sub B) you know me and can guess. If not, this is a pitch in the dirt.

No one has said what treatment is better than skimming to ordnance limits followed by POTW disposal.

Please broaden the discussion by presenting an alternative.

The below are standard limits from a typical city ordinance:

Prohibited discharges:

2.10 Limitations on Wastewater Strength.
(a) No person shall discharge wastewater containing in excess of:
Arsenic 0.35 mg/L
Cadmium 0.2 mg/L
Copper 2.0 mg/L
Cyanide 0.65 mg/L
Lead 1.0 mg/L
Mercury 0.01 mg/L
Nickel 1.0 mg/L
Silver 0.5 mg/L
Total Chromium 2.0 mg/L
Zinc 3.0 mg/L
TTO 2.13 mg/L
Formaldehyde 50.0 mg/L
Phenols 5.0 mg/L
  • containing more than 300 mg/L of oil or grease of animal or vegetable origin, unless specifically approved by the District. The District may approve, on a case by case basis, a modification to the analytical method if the discharger can demonstrate that constituents in their wastewater interfere with the freon extraction procedure and have no negative impact on the POTW and/or receiving waters.
  • containing more than 100 mg/L of oil or grease of mineral or petroleum origin;


-----


100 ppm is about 3 ml in a 5 gallon bucket. That is actually quite a lot, and if the waste is settled and skimmed it will be below that, unless emulsifying agents have been added. While the first wash might be an issue, after that I doubt it. But the sailor needs to judge how much oil is remaining after skimming. If you thinks it is horrible... then get out the check book.


But if we go crazy with expensive solutions, we simply encourage mid-night dumping and pumping while sailing, which is exactly what many posters suggest. The primary reason that fuels and used oil are NOT hazardous wastes is that most states believe reasonable rules are more productive.
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Old 19-08-2015, 21:18   #28
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Re: Sheen on the water

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Very simple. Take some liquid dishwashing detergent and mix in a ratio of about 1 to 5 and put in a squirt bottle. (BTW adding more detergent or using straight is less effective!!). Spray around your boat -Sheen and rainbows are GONE!!! Thank BP!
This is illegal and can turn a warning or a $50 ticket into real trouble.

Don't believe him; don't believe me. It's easy to find authoritative guidance online.
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Old 19-08-2015, 21:27   #29
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Re: Sheen on the water

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Originally Posted by Cheechako View Post
What most people don't realize is that a certain amount of "lots of things" is legal and permitted as long as you apply "best management practices" as I stated earlier. The worst oil polluter around (other than accidental tanker spills etc) is parking lots. Cars leak on the lots, rain washes the lots into the rivers and seas. It's huge and legal. Ex enviro safety manager here.
if all that you have left in your bilge is a sheen on top of the bilge water it's inconsequential in the scheme of things.
I once oversaw a large spill of anti freeze that ended up in a wet land. The E P A observed it. Their comment was that it is mostly sugar and would dissipate. Nothing else could really be done.
They are most often practical people. The soil in our area is often higher in Chromium than the EPA discharge limit. They understand these things.
It is a far, far different EPA that you speak of than the one most deal with.
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Old 19-08-2015, 21:38   #30
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Re: Sheen on the water

Has anyone tried the oil eating microbes that are sold for getting oil out of water?
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