Literally every hydrocarbon processing facility is equipped with storage tanks, be it underground or above ground, and this possesses concerns of potential leakage which may seep into groundwater. Environmental standards for various countries regulate that treated water is only allowed a few ppm of hydrocarbons to be released back into groundwater or nearby sewage. In Malaysia context, the parameter limits are listed in ENVIRONMENTAL QUALITY (SEWAGE AND INDUSTRIAL EFFLUENTS) REGULATIONS 1979 under ENVIRONMENTAL QUALITY ACT 1974. Hydrocarbons and mineral oil are List 1 substances under the original Dangerous Substances Directive 76/464/EEC in the European Union.
Leaked hydrophobic oil will form a floating layer of sheen when mixed with groundwater, which will become thicker and subsequently dissolved or emulsified in increased temperatures if undetected. Oil becomes fat when water temperature reduces due to the hardening and solidification of emulsified oil. Water flow in pipe systems will be clogged. Dissolved and emulsified oil will severely effect water quality and may cause catastrophe especially locations in which water source is scarce.
Contaminated groundwater will require high cost of treatment and it is not easy to clean. As the saying goes by “prevention is better than cure”, an early detection will provide real-time feedback and alarm for necessary immediate actions to be taken.
There are three reference measurement methods namely gravimetric, infrared absorption and GC-FID (Gas Chromatography and Flame Ionisation Detection). A reliable oil-in-water analyser should be equipped with key features such as continuous measurement, rapid probe response, operational from remote, low maintenance and standard/reagent consumption, valve shut down function and so on in which the Waltron 2410 Oil-in-Water Analyser can deliver. It provides a wide-range, accurate analysis with fast response time that calibrates directly to water.