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
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
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.