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Metal Recovery in Plating Shops
One means of environmental control which the Navy has attempted
to use on its hard chrome electroplating lines is a
sub-atmospheric evaporative recovery unit.  Simply stated, the
unit is designed to recover chrome from the plating process and
return it to the plating bath for further use.  The Navy's first
test evaluation took place at NARF Pensacola. The experience
provided NAVFAC with valuable insight concerning the installation
of environmental controls within a production shop.  Among the
lessons learned:
If an environmental control requires attention from
production personnel, the Navy must have an up-front
commitment from management that personnel will be dedicated
to the task.
If environmental controls require changes in production
methods, expect resistance.  The Navy must demonstrate that
the "new way" will benefit production as well as the
The production side of the Navy does not necessarily feel
direct responsibility for environmental protection. Many,
though not all, Navy activities are shielded from the Navy's
environmental requirements by public works departments and a
financial structure which does not always recognize
individual  liabilities/responsibilities.  For example, an
activity can cause a Navy treatment plant to violate an
effluent standard.  However, even if the Navy pays a fine,
the public works department accepts responsibility, and the
activity is not held liable.
The Navy has reinstalled the equipment at Charleston Navy
Shipyard.  At this time, the unit is functioning on the
shipyard's chrome plating line, and is returning chrome to the
plating bath.  Since the unit is functioning, we have been able
to evaluate its applicability and economic impacts. Preliminary
results indicate the following:
The unit requires regular operator attention. We have had
to replace worn valves, gaskets, and seals, and the Southern
Division has developed a preventive maintenance and spare
parts inventory to minimize down time.
The equipment appears to be economically unjustified, due in
part to the relatively small amount of production at Navy
activities, and the remaining need for end-of-pipe treatment
for other wastes.
The availability of simpler, less expensive systems to
achieve improved production and enhanced environmental

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