Water Reuse/Recycle in an Electroplating Facility: A Case History

By Peter S. Cartwright, P.E.


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large electroplating job shop in the Minneapolis, Minn., area provides contract-plating services for manufacturers. As a result, the process and kind of metal plated are extremely variable with the concomitant waste stream also equally variable. The company uses pH adjustment, coagulant addition, lamella clarification, and fine filtration to treat rinse water streams, and some of its spent plating baths. Current city water usage is as high as 50,000 gallons per day (gpd), and the company is under severe pressure from local and state regulators to reduce its city water withdrawals to no more than 21,000 gpd. As a result, it chose to investigate treatment and reuse of its clarified effluent stream. The plating operation has two water treatment reverse osmosis (RO) units that purify municipal water for current rinsing and bath make-up activities.

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