Belt skimmers operate on the same surface adsorption principle as roll skimmers; however, the hardware is different in shape and design as shown in Figure 7.16.6. These units are ideally suited for separators or lagoons with variable liquid levels and less than a 3-gpm-oil-removal rate. The belt length is sized so that the lower end is always immersed. Widths are available in sizes of 12, 18, 24, and 36 in, and the amount of water picked up is only 5 to 10%.
The biggest problem with belt skimmers is that the floating oil does not always migrate to the skimmer for pickup. Skimmers are usually located to take advantage of the prevailing winds and water currents. A minor problem is that heavy greases and some highly oxidized hydrocarbons do not cling to the belt.
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