What Is an Oil Interceptor and How Does it Work?

When water runs off after heavy rain or industrial activity, it enters the drainage system and eventually ends up being emptied back into the environment. Many locations, including numerous industrial facilities, garages, car parks – indeed any place where cars are stored or serviced – contain pools of oil and/or petrol. If the water entering the drains also washes that oil and petrol into the environment, then significant and long-lasting damage is likely to be caused to our rivers, soil and wildlife habitats.

If you’re the owner of such a facility, not only do you have a responsibility to ensure the waste being created on your site is being managed responsibly, you could also be liable to prosecution by the Environment Agency and subject to potentially very high fines.


What is an oil interceptor?

An oil interceptor is a vital yet relatively simple piece of equipment that traps water running off from sites where oil is present and then separates out the two elements. In this respect, it does the same sort of job as a cesspit or septic tank, in that it separates pollutants from the water so that the pollutants can be disposed of safely and the water can re-enter the system.

Different classes and sizes of oil interceptor can be installed depending on the amount and type of waste you need to dispose of. It is essential that you get the advice of an expert before getting one fitted, to make sure the interceptor you are getting is capable of handling the waste you are creating.


How does an oil interceptor work?

Oil interceptors are generally made up of three chambers. When the contaminated water enters the first chamber, any oil present will gradually rise to the top, at which point the cleaner water can be transferred to the next chamber, leaving just the oil residues behind.

As the water passes through each chamber, more and more oil is removed, so that eventually the considerably cleaner water left at the end of the process can be released into the storm drain or other outlet.

Over time, of course, the oil in the interceptor’s chambers will accumulate to the point where it needs to be emptied out and the pollutants disposed of. To do this, you need a licensed operator such as AA Turner Tankers.


Do I need an oil interceptor?

If you have pools of oil or petrol that gather on surfaces and floors at your place of work that would be washed into the drains in the event of rain or general cleaning, then the simple answer is yes.

As mentioned, if it can be shown that you are allowing oil to enter the environment with your wastewater, then you are in all probability breaking the law and could be subject to prosecution.

Here at AA Turner Tanker, we have many years of experience servicing and emptying oil interceptors across Ipswich, Chelmsford, Colchester and the surrounding areas. Whether it’s on a one-off basis, or for a regular service contract, our team of experts can help keep your oil interceptor working properly and your business operating in a legal and environmentally friendly manner. For more information, simply contact us today.