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Characteristics of wastewater from electroplating industry

Q. Hi!

I am trying to find the information about the characteristics of wastewater from the electroplating industry. Can someone provide me with information on the typical characteristics of spent plating bath solution and the wastewater from the electroplating industry ? I realize that it might be different for each unit, but is there a typical profile that one can work with in terms of metals, metals concentration, pH, etc. Also, I will appreciate if anyone can give an estimate of the cost of the treatment options used at present.

We are trying to evaluate the performance of some of the technologies that we have developed for streams in the electroplating industry. I would appreciate if anyone can provide an input on this or at least direct me to a source where I could find such information.

Thank you.


H.G. Sanjay, Senior Engineer
- Chantilly, Virginia


opinion!  Hi, Sanjay. The Federal government has paid very big money for the preparation of hundreds of duplicative reports of this nature for the electroplating industry (probably as a way to return, many times over, campaign donations from beltway bandits). Look them up on some of the numerous grant-supported "pollution prevention" sites or on the EPA sites. Good luck.

Nobody should have to volunteer their own time for free to assemble this data for you when countless beltway bandits are being compensated way beyond the limits of decency for this trivial and unoriginal recompilation work.smiley face

Ted Mooney,
Ted Mooney, P.E.
Striving to live Aloha - Pine Beach, New Jersey

thumbs up signWay to say it Ted, I agree. Regards.

Stephen C. Ward
- Canada

! You have such Bandits in USA too? We sprout them like weeds here!

Khozem Vahaanwala
Khozem Vahaanwala
Saify Ind
supporting advertiser
Bengaluru, Karnataka, India
saify logo


A. Dear Sanjay,

We have commissioned four effluent treatment plant in small sector electroplating industries at Agra plant. We used ion Exchange as base process to recycle the wastewater and recovery of metallic ions.

We found out there is a lot of variations in effluent characteristics, we can summarize it like this:

If shop is using only Anodizing process:

pH is about 1.4-3
Color 200 NTU
Oil 20 PPM
Metal parts as grit
metal ions Aluminum, chromium, Calcium and magnesium (due to use of hard water) total not more than 300 PPM
Non metallic Ions are Cl, SO4, PO4

If shop is using only Nickel / Brass/ plating process

pH is about 1.4-3 some time
Color 200 NTU
Oil 30 PPM
Metal parts as grit
metal ions Copper, chromium, Iron, Zn, Calcium and magnesium (due to use of hard water) total not more than 3000 PPM
Non metallic Ions are Cl,SO4, PO4 and CN

If shop is using only Nickel / Brass/ plating process and Anodizing also

pH is about 1.4-3 some time
Color 200 NTU
Oil 80 PPM Mostly due to Organic dye
Metal parts as grit
metal ions Copper, Iron, Zn,chromium, Calcium and magnesium (due to use of hard water) total not more than 3000 PPM
Non metallic Ions are Cl, SO4, PO4, CN

Please Note wastewater is mostly consists of dragout.

At present recycling plants for wastewater discharge up to 3000 Lt./ day for small scale unit consisting Both Anodizing and Brass/ Nickel Electro plating shops cost about Indian Rs.280,000/-

I hope that, the above information will be helpful to you,


Dinkar S.
-Utter Pradesh, India

We have an inquiry to treat the 6 M3 / day effluent from Fastener industries and having phosphating and electroplating activity. You have mentioned above similar treatment in practice at Agra. Do you think the same can be applied here?


Vijay Bhatawdekar
- Pune, Maharashtra India
December 19, 2016

A. Hi Vijay. I don't know if Dinkar will be coming back 17 years later to address your question :-)

In my opinion a survey of the waste parameters from other shops doesn't do an awful lot towards suggesting what you should do though :-(

6 m^3/day is a small volume, so ion exchange may be the best approach, but I think step 1 is an assessment of whether any given moment's waste is representative of the month's waste load ... For example, some small shops in that volume range operate their phosphate line only a few hours a week, and only operate their silver and precious metal plating tanks on rare occasion, etc. After you understand how the shop operates, you take representative samples and do treatability studies (jar tests) to make sure the ion exchange will work, or what chemical treatments will be necessary for precipitation and settling, or what strategy makes sense.

Although there is nothing wrong with capturing the contaminants on ion exchange resin if it's a sensible strategy for the case at hand, that isn't the end of it: either you or a contractor must later remove the contaminants from the resin and deal with them. I would suggest that you might consider retaining an experienced wastewater treatment consultant before becoming locked into treatment equipment which may not be the best approach for your own situation. Best of luck.


pic of Ted Mooney
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
Striving to live Aloha - Pine Beach, New Jersey
December 2016

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