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ENVIRONMENTAL RESEARCH BRIEF: WASTE MINIMIZATION FOR A MANUFACTURER OF COMPRESSED AIR EQUIPMENT COMPONENTS
Kirsch, F. W. AND G. P. Looby. ENVIRONMENTAL RESEARCH BRIEF: WASTE MINIMIZATION FOR A MANUFACTURER OF COMPRESSED AIR EQUIPMENT COMPONENTS. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Washington, DC, EPA/600/M-91/024 (NTIS 91-234567), 1991.
to inform the public
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has funded a pilot project to assist small- and medium-size manufacturers who want to minimize their generation of hazardous waste but lack the expertise to do so. Waste Minimization Assessment Centers (WMACs) were established at selected universities and procedures were adapted from the EPA Waste Minimization Opportunity Assessment Manual (EPA/625/7-88/003, July 1988). The WMAC team at Colorado State University inspected a plant manufacturing zinc and aluminum alloy filters, regulators, lubricators, fittings, and valves — components for compressed air equipment. Each step of the manufacturing process creates waste: f abricating zinc and aluminum diecast parts generates scrap metal and spent lubricants and hydraulic fluid; milling, drilling, and tapping generate spent cutting/cooling fluid and solvents and metal shavings; cleaning machined parts and steel parts fashioned off-site generates waste oil and 1,1,1,-trichloroethane; and surface coating of metal parts generates effluents from chemical baths and alkaline rinses, e.g., chromium, sulfate, and phosphate precipitates. Other processes generate additional waste hydraulic fluid, cutting/cooling fluid, and Freon.* Although the plant had already changed several procedures to minimize its wastes, the WMAC team's report, detailing findings and recommendations, identified several practices that might be changed to effect greater waste reduction and savings. The recommendation resulting in the greatest reduction involves replacing chromium-containing reagents with those that generate no hazardous waste; the proposed coating process requires no rinsing and would, therefore, not contaminate rinse waters. This Research Brief was developed by the principal investigators and EPA's Risk Reduction Engineering Laboratory, Cincinnati, OH, to announce key findings of an ongoing research project that is fully documented in a separate report of the same title available from the authors.