Environmental Enlightenment #218
By Ami Adini - October 22, 2014

This is a SHORT, LIGHT and SIMPLE newsletter. Its purpose is to rekindle in the initiated terminology they have once learned, and enlighten the uninitiated on terms they may have heard but never known the meaning of.

Oil/Water Separators and Redevelopment of Commercial Properties

In the middle of developing a historic auto-body shop, a developer ran into an oil/water separator mounted in the ground below the floor.

A diagram of a typical separator:

One large box made of pre-cast concrete, internally subdivided into chambers that are accessed for cleanups through manhole covers constructed of steel plate.

This device is variously called a clarifier, grease trap, grease interceptor, oil-water separator, oil-sand-water separator, or similar.

Here’s how ours looked from the surface. You can see the manholes, both covered and with the cover plates removed.


Clarifiers of ages past have leaked into the subsurface environment; they therefore pose certain concerns in transactions with properties that have them installed. These concerns can be removed in most cases.

In the case in point, the clarifier was demolished, and the soil underneath sampled and tested for the contaminants of interest. The excavation was certified clean to the joy of all concerned.

The development proceeded full throttle.

Ami Adini

You can find past issues of "Environmental Enlightenment" at www.amiadini.com Wealth of information about environmental site assessments in the real estate transactions and issues concerning assessment and cleanup of contamination in the subsurface soil and groundwater.

Call me if you have any questions. There are no obligations.

Ami Adini
Ami Adini & Associates, Inc.
Environmental Consultants
Underground Storage Tank Experts
818-824-8102; 818-824-8112 fax

Ami Adini is a mechanical engineer, California Registered Environmental Assessor, Level II (Exp.), and president of AMI ADINI & ASSOCIATES, INC. (AA&A), an environmental consulting firm specializing in all phases of environmental site assessments and rehabilitation of contaminated sites. AA&A specializes in practical solutions to environmental concerns using the highest standards of ethics and integrity while providing its clients with maximum return on their investments.