WICHITA, KS--(Marketwired - Oct 9, 2013) - Helping the auto service and lube industry responsibly dispose of used oil is just one aspect of the closed loop system that makes Universal Lubricants a leader in sustainable energy solutions. Today the company reported that it also reclaims and responsibly treats nearly 12 million gallons of oily water each year, another by-product of the oil change process.
The Universal Lubricants closed loop process is a self-contained, self-sufficient system for collecting used oil, then re-refining, blending, servicing and distributing it as clean, high performance lubricants.
The company currently operates three wastewater treatment plants located in Wichita, Kansas, and in Dallas and Robstown, Texas. The facilities operate under federal, state and local regulatory requirements for treating oil-contaminated water.
"Sustainable water infrastructure and systems are essential to ensuring the environmental and economic sustainability of communities throughout the country," said Ned Murray, manager of Universal Lubricants' Industrial Division.
Universal Lubricants' oil collection trucks have separate compartments for wastewater and a fleet of vacuum trucks that collect the oily water from sumps and drain systems associated with lube shops that handle oil. Volume is highly dependent on weather, spiking during the rainy season and tapering off in winter. The main sources for oily water collection are oil tanks that have accumulated water, oil water separators and tank farm containments.
"Our vacuum services program is an essential part of managing oily water," Murray said. "Whether on dedicated vacuum trucks designed for handling liquids and solids efficiently or in association with our oil collection trucks, safe and reliable transportation for oil and water mixtures is a key component of our overall approach. Untreated oily water cannot be discharged. If Universal Lubricants didn't have vacuum services and treatment facilities, our customers would have to ship their waste water to other treatment facilities to handle it."
The company's Wichita wastewater treatment plant was initially built to service its state-of-the-art re-refinery, to which it transports a portion of the more than 40 million gallons of used oil collected from customers each year. Using a sophisticated hydrotreating process, Universal Lubricants' operators remove the old additives and impurities in the used oil to produce clean, API compliant Group II EcoClear™ base oil; that base oil is then blended with high performance additives to produce the company's Eco Ultra® line of high-quality lubricants.
"We can repeat the process of re-refining used oil over and over again, and each time, there's some quantity of oily water generated that must be managed," Murray explained. "Since we had the wastewater treatment capability for our own processing, we expanded to service our customers as well. Wherever we collect used oil, we also collect the wastewater to help customers stay in compliance with local and federal regulations. The wastewater is treated at each plant to federal and local standards for the area and then discharged into the city's water system for a final treatment process."
The company's wastewater management services include handling liquid, semi-liquid and sludge; reducing effluent pollutants; processing non-hazardous liquids and solids; handling bulk and/or drum wastewater; and receiving wastewater transported by truck and/or rail. Regularly scheduled and on-call vacuum services go hand-in-hand with wastewater collection and are designed to collect many forms of industrial waste to prevent the downtime and costs associated with overflows. Both wastewater management and vacuum services help customers optimize processes for EPA-compliance standards.
About 1.3 billion gallons of oil are used in the U.S. each year, but only about 10-15 percent of that oil is repurposed. Re-refining used lubricants requires up to 89 percent less energy and releases up to 65 percent fewer harmful emissions than refining from crude. Putting used lubricants into the re-refining cycle and treating oily wastewater also eliminates the danger that comes from improper disposal. One gallon of improperly disposed motor oil can contaminate one million gallons of ground water.
For more information about Universal Lubricants' closed loop quality standards and Eco Ultra products, please visit www.ecoultraoil.com.
About Universal Lubricants®
Founded in 1929, Universal Lubricants is a driving force in used oil collection, base oil refining and distribution. Through its closed loop process, the company collects, re-refines, blends and re-distributes its own engine oils and lubricants -- never losing guardianship within the chain -- to ensure that every quart is of the highest quality for optimal performance. Universal Lubricants operates 36 facilities nationally, including one of the world's most technologically advanced re-refineries in Wichita, Kansas. A leader in research and development, Universal Lubricants is a Pegasus Capital Advisors portfolio company and employs more than 430 workers. For more information visit www.universallubes.com.