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Pollution Prevention and Control Technologies for Plating Operations


The surface finishing industry has changed! We can no longer operate by using only our traditional expertise to make the engineering and production decisions that bring in, keep and satisfy customers. Now, every decision we make is influenced by the impact of environmental mandates and other laws which shape surface finishing operations.

In this changing and highly regulated industry we must draw on every resource available to make smart business decisions that not only satisfy our customers but also keep our operations on the pace of rapidly changing technology and in environmental compliance. The National Center for Manufacturing Sciences, National Association of Metal Finishers' Pollution Prevention and Control Technology for Plating Operations is just such a resource.

Twenty years ago when this industry was first regulated for water discharges, most metal finishers had a very limited knowledge of, or experience with the mechanisms required to comply. We innovated, experimented, and expended immense amounts of money in an effort to satisfy the new regulations. In the end, only the application of all its innovation, plus legal action to challenge the implementation of unreasonable provisions of the regulations, allowed many of us to remain in business. While all of these efforts gave the industry much needed "breathing room," it came at a great cost, both financial and in attrition to our ranks.

The time and resources expended to create the national assessment which follows here makes it much less likely that we will need to repeat this struggle in coming years. The data in these pages provide both industry and regulators with a representative look at this industry's successful response to the challenges of clean water regulation, what it has cost, what has worked, what has not worked, and at least an idea of what the future may hold.

On behalf of NAMF, I would like to thank all of the facilities and suppliers that took their valuable time to respond to our request for information. The best recognition of their efforts will come however when industry members put this information to good use. This document represents the financial and program commitment of the NCMS and NAMF to providing collective, usable information that can help individual facilities and the industry as a whole compete and comply in the 1990's and beyond.

David Marsh, President, National Association of Metal Finishers, Marsh Plating Corporation, Ypsilanti, Michigan

January, 1994

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