Is It Important to Service my Site Interceptors?

Interceptors are large underground tanks fitted on drainage systems to protect the environment from oil pollution and if you have any on your site, they should be regularly serviced and maintained.  This blog with explain some of the reasons why.

What is an interceptor?

Interceptors, sometimes called separators, are installed on drainage systems to separate oil from water prior to discharges leaving the site and helping to prevent pollution.  The separated oil is stored in large underground tanks until removed and water is allowed to leave the site.  You can read more about interceptors in our Knowledge Bank Fact Sheet here.

Why do interceptors need servicing?

Interceptors are an essential pollution control devise that will help make sure water discharges do not cause pollution or exceed the limits of a consent or licence.  However, they are only effective when they are in full working condition.  Oil is separated from water as it is less dense and will float at the top of the tank.  Once the tank fills with oil, it can no longer separate the pollutant from water discharges and oil will leave your site, potentially causing pollution.  Interceptors can also be damaged or become worn and they will become less effective if the issues are not resolved quickly.  A regular service visit can help ensure your interceptors remain effective and in good condition.

What does a service involve?

A service should involve more than emptying the tank; it should be a full inspection and assessment.  The separator and all mechanical parts should be physically inspected to identify any areas of damage or wear and any associated electrical equipment such as alarms and separator management systems checked to ensure they are working correctly.  The depth and accumulation of oil and silt should also be assessed.  This will ensure that your interceptors are being serviced regularly enough and inform whether they should be emptied at more regular intervals.

A service should be followed up by information or a report on the work that has been carried out and any issues you should be made aware of.  This should be used to take the appropriate measures to ensure your interceptors remain effective.  If waste has been removed (e.g. oil, silt, water), you should have the appropriate waste documentation on file, including transfer paperwork, the waste carriers licence of the contractor removing the waste and details of the site where the waste is being taken to.

How often should interceptors be serviced?

Interceptor servicing should be added to your regular PPM (Planned Preventative Maintenance) schedule to ensure they are regularly emptied and checked, the frequency of which will be informed by your site operations.  Sites or interceptors servicing areas of higher risk, such as refuelling areas, should be serviced more frequently as the likelihood of oil entering the drainage system is higher.  Services can be every 3, 6 or 12 months, depending on the risks and findings of previous interceptor services.

Interceptors are essential pollution control devises that can assist sites in managing their environmental risks.  However, sites must be aware of where their interceptors are and they should be checked and emptied regularly to ensure they remain in good condition and effective.  You can find out more information about Green Spark’s intercept and drain service here.