Controlling VOC Emissions

We have had complaints from neighbors about paint odors coming from our plant. Can you suggest anything to reduce the possibility of paint or paint odors escaping through the roof stacks?


Q. My company makes construction equipment, and I am the project engineer responsible for finishing operations. We have four dry spray booths in our plant, each equipped with high-density filters. We paint our equipment with solvent-based paints applied with conventional airless spray equipment. We really don’t use much paint.


Although we haven’t been cited, we have had complaints from neighbors about paint odors coming from our plant. Can you suggest anything to reduce the possibility of paint or paint odors escaping through the roof stacks (there are eleven of them) other than proper filter installation and timely changes? Do you have any information on filtering systems that can be installed on the roof stacks as an extra precaution? B.T.

 


A. Your concern about dry paint filters and VOC emissions is well founded. High density filters are designed to trap paint overspray particulates and they do that job very well. While they will trap most of the paint overspray, they will not trap the VOCs that will be emitted to the atmosphere through the roof stacks and are in fact the source of the paint odors about which your neighbors are complaining. Therefore, the installation of solvent removal or collection devices on these stacks is not a precaution, but a necessity. To eliminate or reduce VOC emissions from conventional paints, you should consider activated carbon adsorption fume scrubbers, chemical oxidation and incineration, all of which can be added to your stacks.


A less expensive approach would be to consider using high solids or waterborne paints.
 

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