NASF Report: May 2017
Prompted by elevated air monitoring levels of hexavalent chromium in a southern California neighborhood, the South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD) is expected to propose revisions to its Rule 1469, Hexavalent Chromium Emissions from Chrome Plating and Chromic Acid Anodizing Operations, and Rule 1426, Emissions from Metal Finishing Operations.
Local air officials have indicated that hexavalent chromium levels of more than 0.2 nanograms per cubic meter would pose unacceptable risks to human health. AQMD has already required one metal finishing shop to cease operations for exceeding 1 nanogram of hexavalent chromium per cubic meter at air monitors on the property boundary.
The AQMD staff stated concerns with fugitive emissions from plating operations, rather than emissions from stacks, scrubbers and other devices. To address the fugitive emissions from plating shops, AQMD may add the requirements below to the current rules for chromic anodizing and chrome plating operations.
- Monitoring on the premises using multiple monitors ($5,000 each) with immediate abatement when levels exceed acceptable risk thresholds
- Total enclosures for plating and anodizing operations
- Buildings with negative air pressure
- Controls and/or covers on all heated or agitated tanks that may contain hexavalent chromium, including sealer and rinse tanks
- More stringent controls on abrasive blast cabinets and grinding
- New housekeeping requirements, including: daily vacuuming of floors with a HEPA vacuum emptied in a clean room environment; daily cleaning of flat surfaces and walls; and cleaning of roofs twice per month
AQMD is also considering applying similar requirements for metal finishing operations pursuant to Rule 1426 to control fugitive emissions of other metals such as cadmium, lead, nickel, zinc and tin.
AQMD has indicated that it expects to issue the proposed rule by July 2017 and finalize it by the end of 2017. The industry is concerned that it may not be technologically or economically feasible to meet the proposed revisions. California state industry leaders and NASF representatives are meeting with AQMD officials. The industry is now in the process of evaluating options to address this challenge posed to finishing operations in the region and beyond.
To view a summary of the pending regulatory actions from South Coast air regulatory officials, go to short.PFonline.com/nasfaqmd17.
NASF Member Survey of Job Shops, Suppliers Shows Optimism in 1st Quarter
The latest NASF Business Barometer survey points to optimism from member suppliers and job shops in the first quarter of 2017. The survey includes business outlook by geographic region globally and in the U.S.
For job shops, the survey showed favorable business conditions expected to grow in the next six months. Job shop owners responded that the biggest challenge this year will be finding qualified employees as the labor market continues to tighten. The job shop survey kicked off this quarter, following the success of the NASF Supplier Business Barometer. To view the survey results for job shops, go to short.PFonline.com/nasfjs171.
For suppliers, business conditions in North America are the most favorable since the survey launched in 2015, with nearly 49 percent of suppliers reporting conditions are good and nearly 9 percent reporting excellent.
To view the survey results for suppliers, visit short.PFonline.com/nasfbbs172.
NASF Finalizing Metals Discharge Study: Presentation to EPA at Washington Forum
Through its Government Advisory Committee, NASF is nearing completion of a milestone review and case study of the industry’s progress in reducing wastewater discharges throughout nearly a 30-year period. The study compares metals discharged by permitted finishing operations in Milwaukee from 1989 to 2016.
It evaluates total metal reductions from companies to the municipal treatment plant, average reductions on a per-facility basis, and the relative contribution of the finishing industry versus the larger universe of industrial dischargers in the community.
The draft version is under review by the committee and, as anticipated, preliminary findings show the industry’s significant reductions. The results were presented at the NASF Washington Forum in a discussion led by GAC committee member John Lindstedt, Advanced Plating Technology. Committee representatives also presented findings to the U.S. EPA during the April meetings.
The findings will substantiate the association’s position that protecting the nation’s waterways has been a success and that future, more stringent discharge standards are unnecessary.
In Memoriam: Dick Crain
We were saddened to hear of the recent passing of Dick Crain, whose countless contributions and leadership to the finishing industry will be missed.
“He was a champion of the industry and he always put the good of the order first. He was one of the last who was a true gentleman,” says friend and colleague Blair Vandivier of Asterion. Many others who worked with Dick over the years would certainly agree.
He spent 30 successful years at Industrial Filter and Pump Co., becoming vice president of sales. After leaving Industrial, Dick acted as general manager of Serfilco and also served as executive director of the Metal Finishing Supplier’s Association.
Originally published in the May 2017 issue.