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Metal Finishing Industry "Heavy" Contributor to Heavy Metals Wastewater
2/9/2015 11:13:39 AM
One of the "heaviest” contributors to heavy metals in wastewater is the metal finishing industry.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates that there are approximately 44,000 facilities performing various metal finishing operations that discharge process wastewater directly to surface waters or indirectly to surface waters through POTWs.

Metals Removal Systems for Metal Finishing Industry
Metal Finishing Industry

Heavy metals such as zinc, copper and nickel occur naturally in the environment and are essential in trace amounts but are toxic in more concentrated amounts. Other metals such as cadmium and lead are toxic regardless of the level.

For example, cadmium is a potential carcinogen and seems to be a causal factor in cardiovascular diseases and hypertension. Lead has been linked to reproductive failure and affects the brain, causing hyperactivity and deficiency in the fine motor functions. The intake of high quantities of nickel can cause cancer, respiratory failure, birth defects, allergies, and heart failure.

Unlike other pollutants, heavy metals are difficult to degrade and can accumulate throughout the food chain, producing potential human health risks and environmental disturbances.

EPA 2014 Effluent Guidelines Program

EPA and local municipalities already enforce strict wastewater effluent guidelines on the metal finishing industry and levy sever fines on violators. However, EPA recently released its preliminary 2014 Effluent Guidelines Program, which outlined even more regulations on wastewater being discharged by the industry.

"The Effluent Guidelines Program builds upon the Clean Water Act, which establishes the basic structure for regulating discharges of pollutants into the waters of the United States and quality standards for surface waters," said an article in reporting on the new guidelines.

The law, which was originally passed in 1972, also focused on wastewater disposal at finishing plants and pointed out that the metal finishing industry discharges potentially "high concentrations" of metals, particularly chromium, nickel, and zinc to POTWs.

In the 2014 guidelines, the EPA set forth a plan for added regulation of wastewater from the metal finishing industry and has interest in gathering other data about metal discharges, specifically those related to zinc and cadmium plating.

Plymouth Technology Heavy Metals Treatment and Removal

To address this need for heavy metals wastewater cleanup in the metals finishing industry, Plymouth Technology offers a variety of proprietary wastewater treatment formulations designed to meet strict effluent limits.

Our field formulation chemists have the tools to develop a chemical and service solution to treat water to remove metals such as zinc, nickel, cadmium, lead and other contaminants.

In addition, our patented Metals Removal Systems (MRS) technology has proven invaluable to numerous plating customers for its ability to remove chelated metals and other contaminants to meet effluent requirements and even to recycle water back to the process.

Due to the potential for producing high levels of contamination from heavy metals, the metal finishing industry is under severe scrutiny from EPA and other agencies to satisfy increasingly stringent effluent guidelines.

Plymouth Technology's line of wastewater treatment products and field services can ensure your facility meets and exceeds those guidelines every time.

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