GLRPPR Sector Resource: Columbia Manufacturing Inc. - Plating Operation Achieves Zero Wastewater Discharge
Columbia Manufacturing Inc. - Plating Operation Achieves Zero Wastewater Discharge
Columbia Manufacturing Inc., in Westfield, Massachusetts, originally started out as a bicycle manufacturing company, but has transitioned into the second-largest manufacturer of school furniture in the nation. The school furniture manufactured at Columbia is made from tubular steel that is bent and welded into various configurations, cleaned, plated, and then completed with the attachment of the seat or desktop. The product is difficult to plate because of its size, various configurations, and tubular construction. Columbia's master plan was to eliminate plating operations entirely with a new line of powder painted finishes; however, a large share of the market continues to demand traditional finishes.
Columbia Manufacturing Inc. eliminated the use of 147,000 gallons of water per day in their plating operations and has saved $3,000,000 in water and sewer fees, among other cost savings, by upgrading the plating equipment and integrating a zero-discharge wastewater treatment system. The new, efficient plating line enables the company to recover and reuse 98% of the plating chemistry that would previously have been lost, resulting in a drastic reduction of hazardous waste generation.
Toxics Use Reduction Institute (TURI) UMASS Lowell
Case study/success story
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