||The official kick-off meeting for the National Metal Finishing Strategic Goals Program (SGP) in New York City was launched at the NY City Dept. of Environmental Protection (DEP) on October 19, 2000. It was hosted by the DEP's Bureau of Wastewater Treatment, assisted by the Bureau of Environmental Compliance's Environmental Economic Development Assistance Unit (EEDAU). Thirty-five people attended, about twenty of whom were NYC metal finishing companies. The owners and managers of the businesses learned how Strategic Goals, funded through the US EPA, can help them achieve the goals of better environmental performance and lower operating costs.
At the October launch, the SGP USEPA Region 2 Coordinator explained that SGP is a voluntary, cost free program, which provides metal finishers with the incentives and resources they need to go beyond compliance. Presently, the incentives for SGP members include lower sampling costs, funding for innovative environmental technologies, and means for removing regulatory and policy barriers as particpants work to achieve the specific performance goals of waste reduction and increased savings. The basic SGP performance goals include: 50% water use reduction; 25% energy use reduction; 50% reduction in land disposal of hazardous sludge and an overall reduction in sludge generation; 50% reduction in metals discharges to water; 98% metals utilization; 90% reduction in organic Toxic Release Inventory (TRI) emissions; reduction in human exposure to toxic materials, both in the workplace and the surrounding community.
When a company completes the SGP "Statement of Commitment," a good faith effort toward achieving an agreed-upon set of National Performance Goals by 2002, it must supply baseline emissions data for energy and water usage, and wastewater effluent for 1992, or for a year close to that date, and annually thereafter. The annual, confidentially tabulated progress reports, measure how companies are progressing towards their goals. As a business climbs the SGP ladder, it receives rewards at each level of accomplishment, starting at the Bronze Level, then moving up to the Silver Level, then achieving the Gold, the highest level of recognition. The benefits of the program, which are still evolving, include free environmental audits, free workshops on energy, water and waste reduction, Environmental Management System (EMS) training, and public recognition.
As a follow-up to the October SGP meeting, EEDAU, in conjunction with the Bureau of Wastewater Treatment, organized a workshop on November 16, at DEP's Red Hook Water Pollution Control Plant in Brooklyn, under the sponsorship of USEPA Region 2's Waste Minimization Team. This free, all-day workshop focused on pollution prevention and cost reduction techniques for experienced shop managers/owners, process line supervisors, and line operators. Sixty people attended, including 28 metal finishers, consultants, trade association members, officials from USEPA Region 2 and the NY State Dept. of Environmental Conservation, engineers and inspectors from NYS DEC Region 2 and NYCDEP.
Two expert consultants in metal finishing from Tetra Tech EM Inc. led the program. Their agenda focused on optimizing rinse operations, measuring and controlling dragout (the undesirable "dripping", mainly of metals from the plating tanks to the rinse tanks); bath life extension; spray systems; and reducing water use, energy use, and sludge generation. In the "hands-on" session actual tanks and plating racks were set up to demonstrate dragout reduction techniques, such as proper racking, draining, spray rinsing, and tilting. The demonstration emphasized the importance of metal reduction in a finisher's wastewater effluent.
To date, 18 NYC metal finishing companies have completed their Statement of Commitment and are sending in their baseline emissions data. NYCDEP planned to conduct further workshops in 2001 with the goal of convincing the majority of NYC metal finishing companies that working "cleaner, cheaper and smarter" is the way to do business in the 21st century.
In 2001, EEDAU and the Bureau of Wastewater Treatment (BWT) sponsored workshops for New York City metal finishers on "Free and Low Cost Energy and Pollution Prevention Equipment Programs" in April and May. The workshops were targeted toward voluntary participants in the "National Metal Finishing Strategic Goals Program" (SGP), an effort that rewards metal finishers that improve their environmental performance. Representatives of EDC and NYSERDA made presentations on their energy conservation program resources, along with NYS DEC representatives and others on environmental programs in the state.