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Pollution Prevention and Control Technologies for Plating Operations

Section 1 - Overview of Project Results

1.2 Overview of Users Survey Results

1.2.6 Miscellaneous Survey Data

Exhibit 1-17 presents a summary of data that helps to identify the environmental problems and needs of the survey respondents. For each topic shown, the questionnaire listed potential answers that were checked-off by the respondents. The following observations were made from reviewing these data:

  • The most pressing environmental problems cited by the respondents were the increasing costs of compliance, frequently changing regulations and meeting effluent discharge standards.
  • Areas where the respondents indicated that they need additional technology transfer are more frequently process related (e.g., non-cyanide finishing) than technology related (e.g., electrodialysis).
  • The most common types of environmentally related technical resources available to the respondents are an in-house process engineer or an in-house environmental engineer. Due to the fact that most of the respondents were job shops, as opposed to large manufacturing plants, very few of the responding shops had multiple technical personnel available.
  • A broad range of technical resources are used by the respondents for obtaining information on pollution prevention. The most common resources are professional journals, vendors, conferences or conference proceedings, books and consultants.
  • When asked to rate information dissemination methods for the results of this project that they would potentially use, the respondents rated the printed report the highest.
  • The average number of man-hours that the respondents spent gathering data and completing the survey questionnaire was 5.8 hours.

The survey questionnaire also asked platers to list environmental technology needs that are most important to their company. No checklist was present in the survey form for this question and therefore a broader range of responses was received than for similar questions. All of the responses are contained in the database; the following is a list of the needs that at least two or more platers offered (the number of shops that listed each of these needs is shown in parenthesis).

  • Alternatives to solvent cleaning/degreasing (37 shops)
  • Better cyanide plating alternatives or controls (35 shops)
  • Improved methods for water reduction, closed-loop processing, source reduction, recycling or zero discharge (28 shops)
  • Better cadmium plating alternatives or controls (24 shops)
  • Improved methods or more affordable end-of-pipe treatment (21 shops)
  • Alternative to chromium metal finishing (includes all uses such as anodizing, plating and conversion coating) (20 shops)
  • Affordable options for F006 sludge recycle or disposal (8 shops)
  • Alternatives to or recycling technologies for nickel (6 shops)
  • Improvements to or alternatives for zinc plating (5 shops)
  • Improved methods of bath maintenance (5 shops)
  • Chromium recovery technologies (4 shops)
  • Cost effective treatment or recovery for zinc (4 shops)
  • Better and/or more affordable air emissions control technologies (4 shops)
  • Affordable and/or small membrane filtration or chemical recovery systems (3 shops)
  • Electroless nickel baths with long life span (2 shops)

Exhibit 1-18 provides a summary of the responses given by survey respondents when asked to list aspects of pollution prevention that the Users Survey failed to cover. Most frequently, their responses were directed at regulatory and enforcement issues. Others topics listed by respondents that were particularly interesting include: air emissions and controls, stormwater runoff, hazardous waste not related to wastewater, printed circuit board operations, painting operations, analytical and legal costs, pollution prevention effects on plating quality, and training requirements. Some of these topics will be included in updated versions of the Users Survey.

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