AthenaES™ Projects
Validation of MIL SPEC Tests for Evaluating Biodegradable Degreasing Agents for Shipboard Applications

Client:  U.S. Navy
Project Size:  $43,000
Duration:  6 months

In an attempt to reduce the environmental burden caused by the operation of military ships, U.S. Navy operational regulations call for the use of environmentally benign technologies where possible. The objective of the work performed in this project was to evaluate, assess and make recommendations on a set of three draft protocols intended to determine the efficacy of bioaugmented cleaning products likely to be used in Navy shipboard operations. The three protocols involved waste from galley discharge, oil water separators and the bilge. Each of the three draft protocols was performed as described in the Draft Protocol document (prepared by NSWC, Carderock Division, Code 632), with appropriate modifications as noted. The results were evaluated to determine whether the protocols address the question of product efficacy. Specific recommendations were presented to improve the performance of the test protocols.

Protocol #1 is for testing the efficacy of cleaning agents used in Galley Areas as well as Containment, Holding and Transfer (CHT) tanks. The intent of this protocol is to demonstrate the ability of enzymatic and bacterial-based cleaners to remove grease build-up from the wastewater in galleys, food preparation areas, heads and laundries that empty through the piping into the CHT tanks. These systems contain animal and vegetable wastes and present a challenge in dealing with residual congealed oils, fats and greases. The test protocol was designed to simulate shipboard environmental conditions.

Protocol #2 is for testing products used in the cleaning of Oil-Water Separators. The objective of this protocol is to demonstrate the ability of enzymatic and bacterial-based cleaners to remove oily waste deposits from polypropylene plates used in oil-water separators. The method involves a two-tier procedure aimed at monitoring the cleaning of the plates through visual inspection (Tier 1) and quantitative measurement of the released waste (TPH assay). Design of the protocol simulates oil-water separator operations.

Protocol #3 is for testing cleaning agents used in Bilge Water/Ballastable Fuel Tanks. The intent of this protocol is to demonstrate the ability of enzymatic and microbial-based cleaners to remove petroleum product found on the surfaces of oil/water separators. Protocol #3 was designed to mimic the challenges of handling emulsified oil and discharges from machinery and bilge areas of the ship. A single tier method is employed. Product efficacy is assessed by the ability to form an emulsion of an oil substrate in water. Visual and analytical methods are used to assess efficacy.

From our analysis, protocols #2 and #3 provide the information needed for effectively assessing the utility and efficacy of bioaugmented cleaning products intended for handling oily wastes. Several modifications to each protocol were suggested and adopted in order to simplify and reduce the cost of performing the procedures. These two protocols were recommended for reduction to standard operating procedures with specified criteria (MIL SPECs) for product performance in the tests. It was further recommended that the performance criteria be related to actual shipboard cleaning tests using the products tested in the study. In this way, the efficacy of each product in a real-world setting could be correlated to its performance in the evaluation protocols. Protocol #1 did not work as designed and several recommendations for protocol changes were made to improve the utility of the test procedure.
Athena Enzyme Systems™
Athena Environmental Sciences™