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topic 3600

Lacquers and wastewater treatment


We currently have zinc nickel plating lines with yellow and bronze chromates. To improve corrosion resistance, we were considering adding a lacquer to our process after the chromate dip. One big problem that our plating facility brought to my attention is that the lacquer is not at all compatible with our wastewater treatment system. So, this lacquer, or anything with some lacquer in it, would have to be disposed as hazardous waste. Hazardous waste is expensive to get rid of. Our plating facility does not even want the sample container in their building.

One source has told me that the lacquer would not get into any other tank in significant quantities and that the lacquer tank would only need to be dumped every 1 or 2 years. If this was true, then maybe we could live with a small increase in hazardous waste disposal cost. But, there would be a big problem when we get into our strip and replate operations where we would strip off lacquer. We need to re-process some of our parts since they are too valuable to scrap, but we do not want to incur hazardous waste costs by doing it.

I have heard that lacquers are commonly used in Europe. Is this correct? How is the disposal of this lacquer handled? Are typical European wastewater treatment processes different than those typical in the U.S.?

I would appreciate any comments about any part of this situation. Thanks in advance!

tim neveau
Tim Neveau
Rochester Hills, Michigan

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