Increased emphasis on water resources and on water conservation has had a direct effect on the petroleum industry as well as on all other industries which require large volumes of water in their operations. The petroleum industry has become extremely water conscious because in some areas the quantity of water is limited and in other areas the quality of water is not satisfactory. Efforts have been directed toward water reclamation either for reuse by the petroleum industry or for reuse by other water consumers.
The major problem with waste waters from the petroleum industry is the small quantity of organics which affect the water quality. Removal of trace organics is not easily accomplished but is desirable if the water is to be reused. Biological waste treatment systems are the only methods currently available for the economic removal of trace organics. Several different types of biological waste treatment systems may be used for treating petroleum waste waters, the choice of the particular system being dependent upon the individual problem. Activated sludge, trickling filters, and oxidation ponds have all been used for petroleum waste treatment systems. Although these waste treatment systems have proven satisfactory, economics has required that new systems be investigated in an effort to lower the cost of waste water purification.
This report presents practices and procedures for the treatment and disposal of biological wastes formed during the refining of petroleum products, as well as examples of treatment methods which have been used by refiners for handling biological wastes. The illustrative examples are typical applications of the principles discussed but do not exclude nor limit in any way the use of other methods or equipment of comparable merit.
The equipment and methods discussed in this report mayor may not be covered by patents. Anyone who plans to use such equipment should ascertain whether patent rights are involved.
This report was prepared for the American Petroleum Institute's Committee on Disposal of Refinery Wastes by Ross E. McKinney, Department of Civil Engineering, The University of Kansas, Lawrence, Kansas, in June 1962. The responsibility for the choice of source material and its treatment rests with the author.