The Governor's Awards for Outstanding Achievement in Pollution Prevention have been presented since 1986. Walbridge Coatings received one of five awards given in 1993. Governor George V. Voinovich presented the seventh annual awards on December 9, 1993.
These awards recognize outstanding commitment to improve Ohio's environment through pollution prevention. Evaluation criteria for the awards included: the overall effort to reduce waste at the source, recycle or recover materials, or conserve energy; soundness of approach; cost effectiveness; ability of the program to serve as a model for others; and effectiveness in promoting prevention as the preferred long-term approach.
What is Pollution Prevention?
Pollution prevention is the use of source reduction techniques to reduce risk to public health, safety, welfare and the environment and, as a second preference, the use of environmentally sound recycling to achieve these same goals. Pollution prevention avoids cross-media transfers of wastes and/or pollutants and is multi-media in scope, addressing all waste and environmental releases to the air, water and land.
Walbridge Coatings was recognized for its aggressive metals recovery and reclamation program.
Located in Walbridge, Ohio, Walbridge Coatings produces electrogalvanized zinc and zinc-nickel cold rolled steel primarily for the auto industry. Walbridge was originally commissioned as a coil coating line in 1981. In 1986 they modified their line to an electrogalvanizing line. The facility uses a GRAVITEL technology developed by the ARUS/Andritz-Ruthner Company of Vienna, Austria. In 1989 Walbridge also modified its line to allow zinc-nickel alloy to be produced. The coating line has an installed rectifier capacity of 1,000,000 amperes and is rated at 4,000 tons of product per year.
Pollution Prevention Activities
Walbridge's corporate responsibility to the community and the environment is demonstrated in their aggressive pollution prevention activities.
In 1989 the company began a metals recovery and reclamation program. A literature review of metal recovery failed to show any recovery system in operation of similar size that had the characteristics Walbridge required. The company selected four systems for further evaluation: evaporation; reverse osmosis; electrodialysis; and ion exchange. After over a year in research and engineering it was decided that ion exchange was the most appropriate means of recovering zinc and nickel. Walbridge decided to install short-bed, reciprocating flow ion exchange. Initial testing indicated that 90% of the metals could be recovered. However, the actual process yielded 95% recovery of metals. Furthermore, Walbridge has found off-site companies that recover the remaining 5% of the metals and return them to Walbridge for reuse as feed stock. This feed stock is actually more efficient to use than the zinc pellets the company normally uses.
These combined efforts resulted in an annual reduction of better than 1,800 tons of sludge. Although the project cost over $3,000,000 the payback was only one and a half years. In addition to a savings of over $2,000,000 per year, this project reduces long term liability and demonstrates corporate responsibility to the community.
Walbridge Coatings has also communicated the benefits of waste minimization to others. Walbridge representatives have spoken before groups such as the Society of Manufacturing Engineers, the Ohio Water Environment Association, the Cleveland Advance Manufacturing Program (CAMP) and the Ohio EPA.
Furthermore, Walbridge Coatings was previously recognized for its efforts when the City of Toledo honored it with the "1992 Mayor's Environmental Advisory Boards - Green Business - Award".
Walbridge Coatings is continually undertaking pollution prevention activities. Employees from all departments have formed a facility Pollution Prevention Team. The team has established a pollution prevention policy and has gained the support of upper management for its implementation. The team continues to search for ways to reduce the amount of raw materials used.
Presently, Walbridge is studying UV/EB curing (ultraviolet or electron beam curing) in order to reduce VOC's (volatile organic compounds) used as a carrier for paint. This method would reduce stack emissions and decrease the amount of natural gas required in the operation.
The company is also examining the possibility of replacing the heat evaporator system with a sludge freeze drying system. The freeze method is more energy efficient and eliminates air emissions.
Walbridge is evaluating reclaiming hydraulic and lubricating oils. Efforts are already under way to eliminate waste pallets through reconditioning and reuse. Finally, water reuse and raw material substitutions are all being reviewed for possible further reductions.
For More Information
Robert L. Killian Environmental Coordinator
This document is one of a series of information circulars Ohio EPA has prepared on pollution prevention. For more information, call the Office of Pollution Prevention at (614) 644-3469.
The Office of Pollution Prevention was created to encourage multi-media pollution prevention activities within the state of Ohio, including source reduction and environmentally sound recycling practices. The Office analyzes, develops, and publicizes information and data related to pollution prevention. Additionally, the Office increases awareness of pollution prevention opportunities through education, outreach, and technical assistance programs directed toward business, government, and the public. For printed copies of this or other pollution prevention publications distributed by the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency, Office of Pollution Prevention, please call the Office of Pollution Prevention at (614) 644-3469.
A printed copy of the Office of Pollution Prevention publications distribution list, "Pollution Prevention Information Available from Ohio EPA", may also be ordered by calling (614) 644-3469.
Office of Pollution Prevention
Ohio Environmental Protection Agency
P.O. Box 1049
Columbus, Ohio 43216-1049
Phone (614) 644-3469
Fax (614) 644-2807