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The oil processing industry in the Sanitation Districts of Los Angeles

County's (Districts) service area includes petroleum refining, used oil
re-refining, petrochemical processing, crude oil and natural gas production,
and related chemical companies. The volume of wastewater discharged from
the oil processing industry is approximately 23 million gallons per day
(MGD) which is about 35 percent of the Districts' total industrial
wastewater flow and 6 percent of the 365 MGD of wastewater influent to the
Districts' Joint Water Pollution Control Plant (JWPCP).

The most important pollutants in the oil processing wastewaters are

conventional pollutants such as oil and grease, suspended solids and pH, and
nonconventional pollutants such as phenolic compounds, COD, sulfide and
ammonia. Among these pollutants, oil and grease is one of the most
complicated pollutants to remove. This paper summarizes available
technologies to remove oil and grease and should assist oil and grease
dischargers in complying with their effluent limits.


Hydrocarbons exist in the liquid, solid or gaseous state, generally

depending on the number and arrangement of the carbon atoms in their
molecules. At normal temperatures and pressures, those hydrocarbon
molecules with up to four carbons are gaseous, those with twenty or more
carbons are solid and those in between are liquid (such as crude oils).

The simplest hydrocarbon is methane, it is comprised of one carbon atom

surrounded by four hydrogen atoms. The larger hydrocarbon molecules have
two or more carbon atoms joined to one another as well as to hydrogen atoms
[l]. The carbon atoms may link toqether in a straight chain, a branched
chain or a ring. The simpler hydrocarbons found in crude oils are paraffins
(saturated hydrocarbon) in which each carbon atom is linked with the maximum
possible number of hydrogen atoms with the generic formula of C H
Hydrocarbons with straight or branched carbon atom chains and containing
less than the maximum of hydrogen atoms per carbon atom are called
"unsaturated" or "olefinic" and have the generic formula of C H Examples
of these types are shown in Figure 1 [2]. Petroleum crude oils contain
hundreds of different hydrocarbons, some of which are as complex as CB5H60.


The test procedures used to measure oil and grease concentrations in

wastewater do not determine the presence of specific substances, but groups
of substances that can be extracted from a sample using a particular
solvent. The sixteenth edition of Standard Methods for the Examination of
Water and Wastewater [3] provides for the use of three test procedures to
determine oil and grease concentrations in wastewater samples. These
procedures include (1) the partition-gravimetric method (503A) which
involves the extraction of dissolved and emulsified oil and grease using
trichlorotrifluoroethane, (2) the partition-infrared method (503B) which
uses an extraction process identical to the 503A method together with