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Do I need a condensate management system?

Do I need a condensate management system?

All oil-lubricated air compressors produce compressed air that holds contaminants within it.  These include particles, water droplets, water vapour, oil droplets and oil vapour.  As the temperature of the compressed air drops, water and oil vapour will condense and mix with water and oil droplets to form ‘condensate’, an emulsified combination of oil and water.  This condensate within the compressed air will be removed via the air receiver, filtration and compressed air dryers.

This emulsified condensate of oil and water is classified as contaminated waste.  Disposing of this incorrectly is not only damaging to the environment but could result in a fine.  The UK Water Resources Act states that it is an offence to knowingly permit entry of toxic waste to surface or ground water.  Such an offence can result in a fine of £20,000 or more in a Crown Court.

How much condensate will a compressed air system produce?

At an air inlet temperature of 30°C and a relative inlet air humidity of 100%, compressed air can contain 30g/m³ of water held in vapour form.

Based on a compressed air system producing 100m³/hr (11kW system) running 2000 hours per year:

8hrs x 100m³/hr x 30g/m³ = 24,000 grammes = 24 litres of condensate in 8 hrs

The above is a worst-case scenario but shows the amounts of oily condensate that can be present and will need to be dealt with appropriately.

The cost-effective solution to deal with condensate:

A Condensate Management System is the effective way of purifying this contaminated condensate to legal discharge limits.  Condensate management systems use filtration technologies to separate oil from the condensate.  This allows the small amount of collected oil to be disposed of separately as contaminated waste by a licenced Hazardous Waste Contractor.  The “cleaned condensate” can safely be disposed of down a foul sewer drain.

A typical condensate management system setup:

Useful link for further information on condensate management:

Contact our support team on 01359 272828 for further details.


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