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Pollution Prevention and Control Technologies for Plating Operations


Section 3 - Chemical Recovery

3.7 REVERSE OSMOSIS

3.7.6 Performance Experience

A partial summary of the user data relative to reverse osmosis is presented in Exhibit 3-62. There are a number of observations that can be made from these data and other data contained in the database and literature:

  • The average satisfaction level for chemical recovery applications is 3.2 (on a scale of 1 to 5, with 5 being most satisfactory), which is slightly less than the average rating for all recovery technologies (3.4). Only 33% of the shops using RO for chemical recovery indicated that this technology satisfied the need for which it was purchased. The following is a breakdown of the reasons why shops purchased this technology:
     To meet of help meet effluent regulations:.........4
     To reduce plating chemical purchases:..............4
     To reduce water usage:.............................2
     To reduce the quantity of waste shipped off-site:..2
     To reduce wastewater treatment costs:..............3
     To improve product quantity:.......................0
      
  • The only recovery applications that were fully successful for survey respondents were: nickel acetate and zinc, acid.
  • The use of reverse osmosis as a recovery technology did not impact production quality or the rate of production for the survey respondents. The following responses were provided:
                  Product Quality      Production Rate
      Improved           0                    0
      No Change          5                    5
      Decreased          0                    0
      
  • The respondents indicated that, based on their experience with this technology and, if given the opportunity, they would:
      Purchase the same technology from the same vendor:.....2
      Purchase the same technology from a different vendor:..1
      Purchase a different technology:.......................3
      Do nothing:............................................0
      
  • None of the respondents indicated that their reverse osmosis system was the cause of an effluent compliance excursion.
  • Although RO application to Watts nickel is a well established application, one of the survey respondents found it to be unsuccessful (PS 172). The supplier stated capacity of their unit was 120 gph and the actual capacity was 50 to 80 gph. PS 172 indicated that their unit did not concentrate the product sufficiently for return to the plating bath.

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