The Great Lakes cargo vessel MV James R. Barker recently completed successful sea trials with the world's first maritime bio-mechanical oil water separator for the treatment of oily bilge water. The 1,000-ft. ore carrier is the first to be equipped with the PetroLiminator 630 oily water separator system, developed by EnSolve Biosystems, Inc., Raleigh (North Carolina, USA). The PetroLiminator 630 was installed on the ship in March 2000, and has been in continuous operation since.
The PetroLiminator 630 is a patented new maritime oily water separator that uses bioremediation to treat bilge water so that it meets international clean-water standards for discharge into environmentally sensitive waterways. The unique PetroLiminator system contains safe, non-pathogenic hydrocarbon-ingesting bacteria that convert oils (fuel, synthetic, lubricating and hydraulic), grease, detergents and other hydrocarbons into harmless end products. An oil content monitor continuously tests the clean effluent prior to discharge.
The PetroLiminator 630 was type-approved by the U.S. Coast Guard earlier this year to meet the regulatory limit of 15 parts per million, as specified by the International Maritime Organization (IMO). The automated system works 24 hours a day, processing up to 20,000 gallons of bilge water per week.
The system's reliability and automated, continuous operation allows personnel to spend more time on other tasks. Oily water separators are very labor intensive, requiring the changing of filters or membranes, however the PetroLiminator is claimed to be relatively maintenance free.