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My company has done a lot of growing since the early 70's when we started our first efforts at pretreatment of our wastewater. The first growth was in our attitude. In the early years we had a lot of resistance to the cost and effort necessary for successful pretreatment. I well remember all the fussing and complaining about what we had to do. I hope that my first slide will be a chart showing the progress in the 70's and 80's for the removal of both nickel and chrome from the wastewater. That was then. Today we are looking at reducing just that small residual for a large number of chemicals.

Pretreating metals involves finding a good balance between meeting numerical limits, water volume and sludge production. We have no choice about the numerical limits, but there is great pollution prevention potential in finding ways to reduce water volume and sludge production. Equally important, finding ways to reduce water volume and sludge production will have a payback, saving the company significant money.

In the presentation, I shall explore various ways my company and my industry have approached meeting pretreatment regulation, promoting pollution prevention, conserving water and energy resources, and the development of Environmental Management Systems suitable for a small company.

The Strategic GOALS program, sponsored by the National Association of Metal Finishers and US EPA, is one industry's effort to reach the following environmental goals:

50% reduction of water use

50% reduction in land disposal of hazardous sludge, and a reduction in sludge generation

50% reduction in metal emissions to the air and water

25% reduction in energy use

98% metals ultimately used on products, and

90% reduction organic TRI emissions.

In my remarks, I wish to comment on the progress and drawbacks of this program.

As we entered the new century, US EPA has helped fund training for 15 local metal finishers to set up Environmental Management Systems. My concluding remarks will spotlight how the use of an EMS has furthered my company's efforts at better compliance with the growing regulatory requirements and exploring increased efforts at pollution prevention.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2003-01-01

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