Alfa Laval tool cuts oily water discharge risk

Shinya Tanehashi
Shinya Tanehashi
The BlueBox SA is a tamper-proof oil content monitor (OCM) and data recorder
The BlueBox SA is a tamper-proof oil content monitor (OCM) and data recorder
Industry Database

Non-compliant discharge of oily water continues to be an expensive environmental threat but Alfa Lava is providing peace of mind to ship owners and operators with its new standalone monitoring tool.

The BlueBox SA is a tamper-proof oil content monitor (OCM) and data recorder that functions as a stand-alone solution for upgrading an existing oily water setup.

According to MEPC regulations, clean water tanks must be equipped with a stand-alone OCM to verify the water’s purity before discharge.

“In theory, this should be enough,” said Shinya Tanehashi, Alfa Laval global sales manager for oily water treatment systems. “But the risk of foul play is increased by the fact that many oily water treatment systems – especially static coalescers – experience difficulties in rough sea conditions.”

Common problem

Though MEPC 107(49) improved the type approval procedures for oily water treatment, problems remain common.

Since 2005, the tests have been performed with oil, water and a stable emulsion containing fine particles and a surfactant chemical. However, they are performed on shore and last just 2.5 hours. This legislative loophole lets systems pass easily, simply by using adsorption filters.

“Filters are expensive and quickly become saturated in rough seas, where they merely compensate for the separator’s lack of performance,” said Tanehashi.

“When the vessel’s costs become high or large volumes of oily water accumulate because they can’t be processed continuously, it becomes tempting to dump oily water overboard.”

Standalone solution

Up until now, the Alfa Laval Bluebox solution has been an integral part of the Alfa Laval PureBilge separator.

The new BlueBox SA though is standalone. All of its components are housed in a lockable metal box which monitors the water for discharge.

If the oil content is above the set 5 or 15 ppm limit, the BlueBox SA prevents the overboard discharge valve from opening, which ensures that no non-compliant discharge can occur.

For overboard discharge to take place, a whole range of conditions must be verified, such as the direction of the sample flow through the OCM. All key operational data, including GPS position, alarms and any unlocking of the BlueBox SA cover, is logged and stored for 18 months.

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