The oil and gas industry involves different processes, from production to transportation and processing. Petroleum producers, refiners, and transporters rely on oilfield equipment that is durable and provides high performance to complete their tasks at optimal efficiency. That is why the removal of sludge from frac and oil tanks is a critical maintenance practice when it comes to transporting material.
What is Oil Tank Sludge?
When water vapor condenses inside an oil tank due to temperature fluctuations, it results in petroleum sludge. Over time as the water vapor forms into droplets inside the tank, it causes rust. The rust particles and water eventually sink to the bottom of the tank since oil is less dense. The surface where the oil and water meet creates a habitable environment for microbes which breaks down the oil to form thick sediment at the bottom, also known as petroleum sludge.
How To Remove Sludge from an Oil Tank
Removal of sludge produced by the petroleum industry is a critical maintenance practice petroleum producers, refiners, and transporters need to acknowledge. Not only can the buildup of this hazardous waste reduce oil tank capacity, but it can also have corrosive effects that may lead to premature oil tank damage. With the proper oil tank sludge remover equipment, you can maximize your oil storage capacity and keep your frac and oil vessels in good shape. An industrial sludge vacuum makes the removal process more efficient to effectively clean frac and oil tanks, inside and out.
What to look for in an Industrial Sludge Vacuum
When deciding how to remove sludge from an oil tank, there are important considerations when it comes to selecting the appropriate oil tank sludge remover equipment. One of the essential components an industrial sludge vacuum should have is safety features, to keep workers and the job site safe. Some of the top safety features to look for include an OSHA-approved belt guard, low oil or high-temperature engine shutdown, and liquid-level overflow shutdown.
Having a filtering option on an industrial sludge vacuum is an efficient way to siphon away wet and dry material to safely store or dispose of quickly and easily. Industrial Vacuum’s Hurricane™ 500 LQ Skid-mounted Vacuum has all of these features and more, at a fraction of the cost of a vacuum truck. Trailer-mounted oil tank sludge remover equipment offers a compact design and maneuverability to bridge the gap between the truck and trailer-mounted vacuum loaders. Keep your vac truck contaminate-free with our trailer-mounted Cyclone Trailer, built to withstand abuse from sludges and abrasives with features such as abrasion-resistant wear plates, a sleeved inlet, and an auto dump feature.
Our experts at Industrial Vacuum can help you find a solution on how to remove sludge from an oil tank that is best suited for your unique oil and gas cleanup needs. Contact us today for more information.
New Legislation Brings More Funding
In 2021, the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) was signed into law. With this, federal funding for plugging, remediating, and restoring orphan oil and gas sites will hopefully increase. The IIJA was released just before the updated IOGCC report. The IOGCC confirms in the updated report that this legislation does include money to plug orphan wells on federal, state, private, and tribal lands.
What’s in the new IOGCC Report?
The new IOGCC report released in December 2021 provides updated information
based on new survey responses and direction from the IOGCC council. The report reveals the updated number of idle and orphan wells as well as plugging and restoration costs for old wells.
The base of this report is to identify the need to better maintain and plug oil wells that are not in use anymore. Noted in the report there are about 231, 287 idle wells in the US. Idle or orphaned oil wells can create a dangerous environment and risk to public safety, which is why this report distinguishes the cost to remediate them in the year.
According to the IOGCC, the report seeks to “help states and provinces evaluate their idle- and orphan-well programs and identify useful regulatory tools and strategies from other jurisdictions.”
Read the report summary by Natural Gas Intelligence here
Why does this matter to Frac Tank Cleaning Services?
According to the IOGCC, there will be new federal funding to accomplish their goal of better maintaining idle oil wells. This year Industrial Vacuum has done work to help oil/gas cleanup with our state-of-the-art vacuums. With the increase in funding to this industry, there is a greater need for frac site cleanup and especially efficient cleanup. Industrial Vacuum is equipped to serve this industry as it continues to grow in importance.
For starters, it is important to note that crystalline silica is a mineral found in earth-produced materials. These earth materials include, but are not limited to, sand, stone, concrete, and mortar due to the number of silica minerals found within them. Non-earth materials are forged using the crystalline silica mineral. These products include pottery, ceramics, artificial stone, bricks, and glass.
Industries partaking in crushing, grinding, drilling, sawing, and cutting materials such as sand, stone, concrete, mortar, and more are where these particulates become airborne pathogens. When the mass of the material is broken or cut, crystalline silica dust becomes more lethal, as it can be almost 100 times smaller than ordinary sand. Crystalline silica dust is often swept to assist with cleanup, which is a huge mistake as it becomes more lethal while in the air.
Consider your industry and the types of conditions you or your workers are exposed to. If any of these conditions are present, measures must be put in place to protect workers and their future health:
- Abrasive blasting with sand
- Manufacturing brick, concrete, or countertops made of stone
- Cutting or crushing stone
- Sawing brick or concrete
- Drilling or sanding into concrete
- Grinding mortar
- Industrial sand used in foundry and fracking
OSHA’s whole initiative against crystalline silica dust is to protect the 2.3 million people now exposed to silica at work and to protect those who will be going into an industry that is exposed to silica while on the job. Workers who spend a prolonged amount of time exposed to crystalline silica dust are more prone to being diagnosed with the following diseases:
- Silicosis – a lung disease that results in disability and death.
- Lung cancer – which shows symptoms, such as chest pain, wheezing, and weight loss. These symptoms only show themselves when the cancer is advanced.
- Kidney disease – where fluid builds up in your body and, without treatment, your kidneys can fail resulting in death.
- Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) – begins as flu-like symptoms, but then results in tightness in your chest and needing to catch your breath.
Crystalline silica dust is a threat and will continue to be a threat if industries are cutting, sawing, grinding, drilling, and crushing materials that contain the silica mineral. OSHA outlines standards for construction specifications and all other industries with maritime. These standards should be followed to be compliant, but more importantly, should be followed to protect your workers.
Dust collection systems and industrial vacuums can aid with the cleaning of dust particulates to assist with silicosis prevention. HEPA filtration systems are equipped with silica dust prevention by catching a real number of particulates out of the air, encouraging a healthy breathing area for workers. If your industry is not currently equipped with a dust collector, or HEPA filter, consider the advantages of silicosis and silica dust prevention.