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At a commercial offset lithography printing facility, new computer-to-plate technology increased the volume of wastewater produced in the prepress (plate imaging) department. Various strategies involving operational changes, equipment modifications, and water reuse were employed in order to reduce water and avoid purchasing additional wastewater discharge capacity. The water use reduction strategies ranged from very simple actions to more complex solutions involving plate processor modifications and additional equipment installation. Options with associated costs each had a payback period of less than a year based on the facility's local water and wastewater costs. The strategies employed reduced water consumption in the prepress department by approximately 75 percent. The strategies for reducing water use are presented in order of ease of implementation and are applicable to a wide range of prepress operations. Cost information and expected water savings for each strategy are included.

A method for measuring the amount of wastewater used by a processor is also presented. This method enables a comparison of water use to be made between processors so that water use can be benchmarked for different prepress operations imaging similar plates.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2003-01-01

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