As with all industries, the wastewater sector relies on the healthy functioning of its machinery, and that requires lubrication. Oil-based lubricants, however, are generally considered a hindrance to the environment – but Gulf Western Oil (GWO) are working hard to prove this doesn’t have to be the case.
“If you told someone ten years ago that you work for an oil company, well they thought, you don’t look after the environment,” says GWO National Account Manager, Chris Bright. “But we offset every litre of carbon through our partnership with solar companies and are continually striving to improve our business practices to ensure they are environmentally sound.”
Another initiative that GWO has implemented to mitigate the impact of oil in the environment, is the collection of water from their own facilities to separate contaminants.
“What we do in our own business is we harvest all the water runoffs from the rain from our roofs, and we put it into a separator which removes any contaminants and we keep it in a pit internally. It then gets drained out and taken off to a facility where it will be treated for us.”
GWO are a privately-owned Australian company based in Sydney. Their wastewater collection facility was built in November 2013, in conjunction with the Australian Environment Protection Authority (EPA).
“We built it to the EPA recommendations, so now we’re licensed and tested annually by the EPA to ensure it is environmentally sound.”
This is important, Bright explains, in case there is an incident wherein an oil leak occurs and then its rains.
“We actually have a system in place that if we ever ended up in a scenario where there was an incident, our team is trained to shut off any lines or any material that could potentially go into the storm water drains around us so that there’d be no chance of contaminating leaks going out onto the roads or anything like that, you’d get no contamination from us in the event of an incident.”
“We’ve been working with the EPA every step of the process and were given the greenlight. Also, our facility gets tested by them annually to make sure we’re still compliant.”
Beyond these internal initiatives, GWO also make environmentally sound products, says Bright.
“We have a large range of hydraulic fluid that is now biodegradable. So, if you have an oil leak, for example, the oil will disperse before it actually becomes bad for the environment.”
CBC’s National Product Manager for Lubricants, Steve Keown, explains further why lubricants are such a critical part of the wastewater treatment process.
“With an array of equipment including gearboxes, pumps, chains, blowers, compressors, slides and guides, as well as the key components of these which includes bearings, it’s important to get the lubrication right so that they function well – especially in severely corrosive environments such as those common to the wastewater industry,” says Keown.
“Reliable lubrication is essential to keeping your plant online and operating efficiently to meet current regulations and budgets.”
“Yet, lubricants are often first off the mark when budget cuts are made”, Keown says, “which is a mistake.”
“Lubricant replenishment costs are relatively minor when compared to the initial infrastructure cost, and the expense and consequences of unplanned equipment failure will not only be inconvenient but can lead to a greater environmental footprint and increased energy usage.”
Keown recommends choosing a lubricants supplier that offers a quality product range but also factors in their environmental impact.
“GWO are renowned as a quality lubricants supplier. They’re also operating in an environmentally-conscious manner, not only with their products but in their practices as a company. It’s commendable.”