View Full Version : Oil separator with severe water contamination

21-06-2012, 04:46 AM
Hi guys, I have a job at the moment where the system has suffered severe salt water contamination in 2010. On the first visit to site I found salt crystals the size of tennis balls in the suction strainer. The customer did not accept our initial advise to purify the system, the result was continued compressor failures and massive capacity losses. Finally they have agreed to sort out this issue however the contaminants are so bad that there is sludge every where! Has anyone experianced anything as bad as this before and what did you use to clean it up with, and how effective was it. My own preference would not to introduce any more contaminants but at this stage there is nothing you could do to make this system worse 9059liquid line strainer!

21-06-2012, 08:39 AM
Hi Nh34life
Excellent contamination here. The system will need to be flushed with a refrigerant solvent at a temperature where the salt will melt. In the past I have used R11 when it was legal, but salt - is it sea water cooled? I acid washed a york centrif which cleaned up but was scrapped due to no warranty cover. Flushing agent will clean up the sludge but it will take time and higher temp the better up to 40 degC. What refrigerant is in the system and what type/size is the system? You will need to flush each component separately for best results, then take acid TKO tests until clear then do oil sample analysis to ensure clean system. Along with the usual suction line filers, driers, oil filters & oil changes. Big job. Also open drive or semi hermetic?
Tell us more about what has happened - this is a good one.

21-06-2012, 10:42 AM
I think you need to know what will clean it first, then apply it with a circulating pump etc.
Sometimes it might be solvent, water, steam etc organic, inorganic etc.

Then the size of the plant might also determine how you go about it.

I have worked on a NH3 system once that totally filled with cooking oil.
Steam fixed that system.
Also a heavily cabonized screw package with heated decarb solution pumped around it overnight.
A few oil & filter changes gets it back on track.

21-06-2012, 07:37 PM
This is a 600kw fishing boat running DX static coils on 3x horizontal seperated screws. the charge is around 3500kg of NH3 which has been removed. the water ingress was from the static coils which hold a significant amount of brine/RSW. Ranger what was de carbonising agent as i think i will need to use in the vessels after i get rid of the sludge. Im thinking for the oil seperators an electrosol evaporating degreaser followed with sythetic fridge oil via 5 filters. For the coils im thinking steam cleaning followed with a very thorough vac. This still does not clean all the remaining pipework which will just have to be cleaned with ammonia whilst running purifier/rectifier and lower common strainers.
There is very little space and average ventilation which makes every task difficult to say the least!

21-06-2012, 09:04 PM
I'II dig it up, but from memory Metank 51, if its not available there will be something out there.

21-06-2012, 09:17 PM
I think you are better to get a local chemical type company to suggest something to use.
Mention what you want to do & go from there.
The stuff we used may not be available, but it also has to be diposed of in the correct way, so it costs a bit $$

25-06-2012, 02:54 AM
Hello NH34life.
Bugga, a big job cleaning system up. Where is the ship, send it to Tauranga, there is a mob there that does chemical flush and clean ups... They have everyting required chems ., pumps tankers and what ever. For the life of me I cannot remember their name. Do a web seach.

25-06-2012, 03:50 AM
Cheers for the suggestions guys, i have it all covered just not much documentation on this topic, im hoping to put a brochure or web site together when this is all over with.

25-06-2012, 10:08 AM
Just be careful they don't use something that can attack the different metals you may have, like aluminium gaskets, seals etc.
Obviously do not pump the stuff through compressors or oil pumps.

27-06-2012, 07:52 AM
This system is so ****ed it would do them good