New EPA Regs for Metal Finishing Effluent

U.S. EPA Released its Preliminary 2014 Effluent Guidelines Program, which Outlined More Regulations for Wastewater from Those within the Metal Finishing 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. Originally passed in 1972, the law went on to also focus on wastewater disposal at finishing plants.

Furthermore, the Clean Water Act requires the EPA to bi-annually review existing guidelines with the goals of restoring and maintaining chemical, physical and biological integrity of water and to provide transparent decision-making during the process.

Four factors are used in prioritizing the effluent guidelines for revision. These include: the amount and type of pollutants in an industrial category's discharge and possible hazard; performance and cost of applicable and demonstrated wastewater treatment technologies; affordability or economic achievability of wastewater treatment technology, process change or pollution prevention measures; and, opportunity to eliminate inefficiencies or impediments to pollution prevention. 

For the 2014 guidelines, the EPA outlined a plan for further regulation of wastewater from the metal finishing industry, along with runoff from oil and gas production, petroleum refining and nano-material industries. The EPA is looking to gather more data about metal discharges, specifically those performing zinc and cadmium plating.

Those within the industry obviously need to pay attention to this moving forward. Data is indicating that metal finishing facilities may be potentially discharging high concentrations of metals, which could transfer to sewage sludge—which impacts its beneficial use. 

For M.W. Watermark, a Michigan-based supplier of equipment, parts and services for water and wastewater management, it's their mission to provide the solutions to these regulatory changes from the EPA.

With decades of experience in solving wastewater problems, M.W. Watermark's filter presses have long proved to be a trusted solution for wastewater management in the metal finishing industry. In fact, the company still provides parts for filter presses from the 80's and 90's—when the EPA first started regulating wastewater disposal.


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