crew using an oil skimmer

New Standard Makes Oil Skimmer Capacities Apparent

Manufacturers of oil skimmers have been free to state any value on their products' namplates as the theoretical capacity of that skimmer, but a new ASTM International standard includes a test that will establish a true capacity. The F2709 standard, Test Method for Determining Nameplate Recovery Rate of Stationary Oil Skimmer Systems, was developed by Subcommittee F20.11 on Control, part of ASTM International Committee F20 on Hazardous Substances and Oil Spill Response.

"Our goal was to develop a test that would be simple, inexpensive, and yield reproducible data that can be used to compare skimmer performance," said Steve Potter, director and senior engineer at SL Ross Environmental Research Ltd. of Ottawa, Canada, and chair of F20.11. "Prior to the development of this standard, manufacturers were free to state any value as to the theoretical capacity of an oil skimmer and often used the maximum capacity of the transfer pump."

The test method is designed to quantify two key skimmer performance values to reduce testing costs and to encourage industry-wide performance standardization. It will be used by manufacturers, emergency response organizations, and regulators to rate skimming devices in a defensible way, according to ASTM. For technical information about the standard, contact Potter by phone at 613-232-1564 or e-mail at steve@slross.com. The F20 Committee next meets April 21-22, 2009, during the April committee week in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.

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