UV fluorescence is the best available technology for measuring oil in water, especially so when measuring low levels of oil contamination such as in wastewater discharges, cooling water and steam condensate contamination and in intake protection applications.

How does UV Fluorescence work?

Aromatic hydrocarbons fluoresce when exposed to UV wavelengths. Using a UV wavelength as the light source, and a filter of a different wavelength to measure the emitted light means that UV fluorescence avoids issues associated with turbidity and low signal:noise ratios, and can be fine tuned to be very specific to a particular hydrocarbon.

It also means it can detect oil that is free and water soluble.

What are the alternative approaches?

Alternative approaches include turbidity based measurement methods and UV absorbance based approaches.
UV absorbance based methods are more prone to interference from turbidity and tend to suffer from a weak signal::noise ratio, meaning often only ppm concentrations of oil in water can be detected.
Turbidity based methods are acceptable in clean samples where turbidity is low, however, in reality, this approach tends to struggle as most applications tend to have at least some turbidity in the water sample.
UV fluorescence is the most sensitive, the most specific and the least prone to interference of the oil in water measurement methods available. Turner Designs have over twenty years of experience of manufacturing and supporting oil in water systems and are world leaders in the oil and gas industry.

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Fowzie Smith-Tahir

Fowzie Smith-Tahir

Marketing and Design at PMA Ltd

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