Recycling Process Provides Sustainable Solution for Refinery

The challenge

A unique oily residual management process is providing a sustainable solution for a major refinery in Louisiana.

Veolia’s two-stage operation recycles oil-bearing secondary materials, resulting in a delisted solids cake that can be disposed of in a local landfill as non-hazardous waste. The recycling process helps reduce environmental risk while recovering an estimated 31,000 barrels of oil per year.  

The project challenges are:

  • Veolia’s residual management solution at this refinery includes a three-phase centrifuge process and a thermal desorption system. Veolia processes more than 500,000 barrels of oil-bearing secondary material per year, helping reduce hazardous materials and returning thousands of barrels to the refining process.

The solution

Recycling Process:

  • The recycling processes delivered by Veolia offer the client a sustainable solution for managing oil-bearing secondary material streams. By combining Veolia’s patented three-phase centrifuge process with a thermal desorption unit, the refinery is recovering 31,000 gallons of oil from its residuals and significantly reducing the hazardous waste generated by the refinery.
  • The process solids that remain after Veolia’s complete thermal desorption process meet or exceed U.S. EPA land disposal restriction (LDR) standards, and Veolia assisted the refinery with securing a conditional delisting authorization. Delisting is a regulatory authorization that allows specific wastes from a particular generating facility to be removed from the hazardous waste list and not be regulated as hazardous waste. Generators remain obligated under RCRA, however, to determine whether or not their waste remains non-hazardous based on the hazardous waste characteristics.
  • Under Veolia’s solution, the refinery’s oily waste material is transferred from the refinery’s tanks, either via pipeline or vacuum trucks, to the Veolia processing unit. Upon arrival at the unit, the material is heated and conditioned with certain chemicals that help to enhance phase separation in the centrifuges. Once conditioned, the material is introduced into a centrifuge, which separates the oil, water and solids. The recovered oil is returned to the client to use in the refining process. The water is returned to the client to evaluate whether it may be used as quench water or processed to the refinery’s wastewater treatment unit, and the solids are transferred to the thermal desorption system, which recovers additional oil that is returned to the client for reuse and further reduces the water content of the solids.
  • Sixteen employees operate and maintain the Veolia facility around the clock. The staff includes a project manager, two operators and maintenance and safety personnel. The operators are responsible for operating the equipment, monitoring the process, and recording the operating conditions and data. They also diagnose any operational problems and take corrective action based on standard procedures. The maintenance staff performs routine and preventive maintenance on the equipment to ensure optimal operation.

Benefits for our clients


The recycling process recovers an estimated 31,000 barrels of oil per year for the refinery, and allows the client to significantly reduce its hazardous waste disposal costs and liabilities.
The Veolia facility’s safety record is excellent, with no lost time accidents since 2002. Awards include the Contractor Merit Award by the American Fuel Petrochemical Manufacturers working 45,215 hours with zero incidents for calendar years 2007-2009 and 2011. They also received the Contractor Safety Excellence Award from the Greater Baton Rouge Industry Alliance in 2011.

“We maintain excellent communication with the client, meeting weekly with refinery personnel and maintaining daily communication with the refinery’s wastewater manager. The highly experienced staff understands the industrial streams that are recycled, process flows and how various challenges can impact operations. This in-depth experience with refinery processes has allowed Veolia to provide the best technological service solutions to meet the client’s complex water and oil-bearing material-related management challenges."
—Harold Bolanos, Project Manager


Our operational expertise is backed by industry-leading safety performance and compliance ratings that you can trust to mitigate risk from your business.  With 14 OSHA-VPP Star Certified sites, plus additional sites pursuing certification, we are the most VPP-Certified environmental services provider in North America.
At Veolia, the health and safety of our employees is of foremost consideration in every project. Veolia's employee-driven safety culture is designed to prevent work-place injuries, illness and property loss. Our goal is to maintain a zero Total Recorded Incident Rate (TRIR).