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Re: Vapor Degreasers
There is lots of stuff on this on the internet. A few thoughts as you get
prepared to visit you client:
1. process redesign is the way to go if it can be done. changing the
design to eliminate the soil or changing the soil to make it compatible
wilth pre-painting aqueous cleaning operations is worth devoting time to.
If through redesign, the firm can eliminate a process step, they can save
big bucks, reduce cycle time and free up floor space.
2. aquesous cleaning systems can have large footprints, can process parts
slower than degreasers in many cases and can generate wastewater that
needs to be treated. If the firm does not have a WWT system, depending on
the metal being cleaned and the aggressiveness of the cleaner, they may
need to install a treatment system beyond pH adjustment.
3. One alternative to aqueous degreasing is airless degreasing. Solvents
are used but in an evacuated chamber. Use is reduce by 99% as are air
emissions. see serec.com for one vendor of this technology.
Obviously, you need to get the client thinking about eliminating thier
dinosaur. My suggestion would be to call a meeting of production and
enviro and (if appliacable) design staff to discuss the situation. Lay out
the approximate costs and liablity associated with continuing to operate
the degreaser. Do some quick back of the envelope analysis of the cost of
ownership (i.e. the cost to run the process step) including the cost of
getting the unit into compliance with the MACT standard (EPA has a fairly
good guidance on this at thier web site) and state air permitting. Present
some alternatives to the degreaser and get buy-in to form a team to look
into the firm's alternatives. Keep the presentation informal and get
discussion going on what could be done between the people at the meeting.
If you get the commitment for the team, schedule the next meeting date
while you are on site. Assign homework.
* under Title V, thier use of degreasers may limit thier growth --
specifically if they exceed the Title V HAP or VOC limits
* open top degreasers are on the way out -- any investment now is a short
* solvent health effects -- everybody is afraid to say what the real
health effects are from chronic long term exposure (like neuro-muscular
effects and tissue defatting). You are the outsider that can mention the
effects. People tend to be motivated by this
* hazardous waste liablity and liability of spills
Obviously, every situation is different from the next, but this should get
you going. Good Luck. Let me know how it goes....
At 06:05 PM 5/26/99 -0500, you wrote:
>Will be visiting a firm who is using a vapor degreaser with TCE as the
>solvent. Its a dinasaur that is apparently being misapplied. Its
>refrigeration system is starting to fail as the employees are complaining
>of fumes and odors. I need to be a proactive change agent to convince them
>that there are better ways to remove lubricants and coolants from metal
>parts prior to welding and painting. I'm requesting ammunition to use with
>them to convince them to do source reduction and process modification
>(aqueous cleaning or ultrasonics or other ideas you might have). I
>understand there are NESHAPS reporting requirements to EPA which I suspect
>they are not doing. Can anyone fill me in on those and suggest good change
>Thanks in advance.
>Warren J. Weaver
>PO Box 5046
>York, PA 17405
>Certified ISO 14000 Auditor (#E051734)
47R Englewood Road
Gloucester, MA 01930