The importance of oil skimmer testing and ASTM standards

ASTM standards should be an important consideration when selecting an oil skimmer. It’s an interesting question as to why standards exist, they are actually an important aspect of modern life – they make your plug fit in an outlet, they look after your well-being and safety, and as a consumer ensure that you get a quality product.

This reasoning exists in the oil spill world too where ASTM has been developing standards since the 1960s. Some of these standards are known better than others, the most well-known relates to boom connectors, if all boom manufacturers made their own proprietary connectors, then nothing would go together in an emergency.

Standards are developed by committees, drawn from all aspects of the industry. Anyone can join ASTM and have their say, voting on new standards, and revisions.

To view their work visit

Standards exist for oil skimmers too, the first being F631 which described how skimmer testing should be measured. F2709 was developed in 2008 to specifically address how to test a skimmer to determine its capacity (prescribing the conditions).

If you are considering buying an oil skimmer it should be tested to this standard, which will provide you with independent verification of its capability and provide you with a basis for your OSRO certification or FCR plan. The majority of Elastec oil skimmers have been tested at Ohmsett – The National Oil Spill Response Research & Renewable Energy Test Facility.

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