News | April 27, 2005

Vortechnics Introduces VortClarex, A New Stormwater Treatment System For Oil-Water Separation


Using a state-of-the-art coalescing media, the VortClarex™ system improves on conventional oil/water separator design

Scarborough, ME — Vortechnics, the leading provider in stormwater treatment solutions, today introduced VortClarex™, a new oil/water separator engineered to specifically remove free oil and other liquid pollutants from urban runoff and industrial discharges.

It is common to see small oil slick "rainbows" on parking lots during rainstorms. This relatively small amount, multiplied by hundreds of thousands of parking lots across the county, can cause significant damage to the nation's waterways. The United States Environmental Protection Agency's (US EPA's) National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) program regulates the discharge of such contaminants into bodies of water protected by the Clean Water Act. This program is mounting regulatory pressure on site owners to reduce the concentration of oil, grease and other hydrocarbons in their site runoff.

"Oil presents a serious threat to both fresh water and marine environments. It endangers public health, compromises drinking water, and devastates natural resources," said David Miley, CEO of Vortechnics. "The addition of the VortClarex™ system to our suite of proven technologies offers our customers an effective oil/water separator that consistently improves water quality and meets stringent effluent standards."

According to the US EPA, the definition of a harmful quantity of oil is any discharge greater than 15 parts per million (ppm). Conventional oil/water separators use tank volume to separate oil and water. These basic design separators are only effective on oil droplets greater than 150 microns and will not meet stringent effluent quality regulations. The VortClarex™ system builds on the conventional oil/water separator design by using a highly efficient coalescing media to maximize the surface area and optimize the treatment volume available for oil and water separation. With this state-of-the-art coalescing media, the system is able to separate oil droplets down to 20 microns. Properly sized, the VortClarex™ system will remove virtually 99.9% of all free oil and will improve effluent quality to 10 ppm or less.

How VortClarex™ Works
The VortClarex™ coalescing media is a corrugated plate that provides a surface onto which oil droplets coalesce or "join together." The PVC (polyvinyl chloride) media attracts oily substances because of its affinity for hydrocarbons. Oil droplets are then able to combine, forming larger droplets that rise to the surface more quickly – increasing the separation rate and reducing hydrocarbon levels in the effluent.

Flow enters the VortClarex™ system via a non-clog diffuser that distributes it across the chamber width. The influent passes over a solids baffle wall where settleable solids drop out, reducing the amount of solids in the flow as it enters the coalescing media. As the flow passes through the media, oily pollutants accumulate on the surface and come into contact with others to form larger, more buoyant droplets. These buoyant droplets rise upward through the media and are released near the water surface. The oil is trapped behind the outlet T-pipe, and treated water exits the system.

The VortClarex™ system should be checked periodically to determine if excessive amounts of solids and/or oils have accumulated. Solids accumulation in the lower sections of the VortClarex™ coalescing media will reduce oil removal efficiencies. Regular inspection and maintenance will eliminate any compromise in performance due to solids build-up. The VortClarex™ coalescing media can be cleaned either while in the system or after removal from the system.

About Vortechnics, Inc.
As the leading provider of engineered stormwater treatment solutions, Vortechnics has set the industry standard with its emphasis on technical customer service, research and development, customization, ease of installation and maintenance. The company's comprehensive suite of stormwater treatment products capture pollutants from runoff and protect waterways from damaging, contaminated stormwater flows. With the most comprehensive lab, field and third party testing in the industry, Vortechnics delivers proven results and site-specific solutions for all applications and rainfall conditions. Founded in 1988 and based in Scarborough, Maine, Vortechnics, part of the CONTECH family of companies, has installed thousands of systems throughout the U.S. and Canada, ensuring that millions of people are able to enjoy the benefits of cleaner, safer water.

For more information about Vortechnics and its products, visit the company's web site at

Source: Vortechnics, Inc.