Condensate is an unavoidable result of air compression. It is a chemically aggressive fluid that mainly consists of water, but also contains oil and dirt particles.
Oil carryover is unavoidable if you have compressors that use oil in the compression chamber. The lubricant will mix with the condensation and create an oily water that must be properly handled to avoid violating environmental regulations.
Just one litre of used oil can contaminate up to one million litres of fresh water. This is the reason that environmental regulations strictly prohibit the discharge of oily wastes and chemicals, including the condensate drained from a compressed air system.
Compressed air condensate must therefore be treated in accordance with water resource legislation to achieve prescribed safety levels before it can be disposed of in the waste water system. Compressor condensate must therefore be either collected and treated by special processes or treated prior to disposal to the environment. An oil/water separator can be used here to remove the oil from the condensate. Since the condensate is approximately 95% water and 5% oil, water/oil separators have been developed to reduce or eliminate the amount of oil in the condensate.
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