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Parts Washers



    
    There appears to be some options between the extremes of LOW FLASH 
    solvent based cleaners and aqueous cleaners.  The low flash 
    cleaners seem to be preferred but are generating hazardous waste 
    and emissions.  The big complaint with aqueous cleaners, as 
    mentioned in another message, is that they can create other 
    problems...corrosion on parts, slow drying time, poor cleaning 
    ability, etc.
    I would like to point-out some middle road options, as well as 
    advocate keeping one eye on new cleaning solutions.  An important 
    element is the specific use for which the cleaning solution is 
    needed.  One should definitely take this into account...even 
    aqueous solutions can become a hazardous waste in some situations.
    
    There are some high-flash (>140) solvents that reportedly perform 
    very well and MAY eliminate the need for hazardous waste 
    management.  (Sorry but I don't have specifics.)  There are 
    reportedly solvent blends that accomplish the same purpose, again 
    pending actual use.  I would think that the higher flash solvents 
    help to minimize VOC's.  HAP's may be another issue on which to 
    keep one eye.
    
    If there are multiply units in a facility NOT being used for the 
    same purpose, there may be an option on using different cleaning 
    solutions.  Also, if multiple units are employed, there may be 
    options for reducing both the size and number of units, and 
    resulting emissions.
    
    Change-out frequency can also be a problem if performed routinely.  
    Unit usage should be evaluated to determine if monthly change-outs 
    are needed, or perhaps a longer service interval.  In several 
    cases, users extended change-outs to nearly double usage, and one 
    facility extended change-outs from every 4 weeks to nearly three 
    months.  (I'm not quite sure how beneficial this may be for 
    emission reduction, but I'd like to think it is a positive 
    direction.)
    
    Some units are available with built-in filters that reportedly 
    extend the useful life of the cleaning solution.  One type of unit 
    reportedly only requires periodic filter changes and the addition 
    lost fluid.  Although I've heard the claim the filters can be 
    managed as non-hazardous, I still believe the actual usage would 
    determine the status of the filter.  Again, emission reduction 
    still may be an issue.
    
    I realize much of this does not address VOC issues.  On a larger 
    than parts-cleaner scale, GE Transportation Systems, in Erie PA, 
    eliminated a solvent-based cleaning station (for train engines) in 
    favor of an aqueous-based cleaning system.  VOC minimization was 
    one of the benefits.  You may get additional information from the 
    facility.
    
    Ric
    illig.richard@a1.dep.state.pa.us