Chromium Electroplating

On September 19, 2012, the EPA published amendments to 40 CFR 63 Subpart N, the NESHAP for Hard and Decorative Chromium Electroplating and Chromium Anodizing Tanks rule. The amendments are the result of residual risk studies that are conducted after a period of time on each rule to determine its effectiveness. A fact sheet has been developed to outline the changes to the rule that might affect your facility.

Key Parts are:

  • By March 19, 2013, Housekeeping practices must be implemented.
  • By September 19, 2014, existing facilities must be in compliance with the new emission limits.
  • By September 21, 2015, perfluorooctyl sulfonate (PFOS) based fume suppressants can no longer be used for Chromium Electroplating.
  • View the amendments as published.

Air Pollution

Polishing and buffing operations emitting particulates may require a permit from your air pollution control agency. Other processes which produce gases and mists which require exhaust and scrubbers may also be regulated. Boilers and other fuel burning operations may be regulated, depending on fuel used and size.

Chromium electroplating air emissions are regulated by 40 CFR Part 63 Subpart N National Emission Standards for Chromium Emissions from Hard and Decorative Chromium Electroplating and Chromium Anodizing Tanks. The regulation requires specific control devices for hard chromium processes. An amendment to the 1994 regulation allows hard chromium platers to comply with the regulation by using mist suppressants and surface tension control.

Occasional changes, amendments, or closely related rule are promulgated for chromium electroplating. For a complete listing of all rule and implementation information, proposed and finalized, for chromium electroplating, the EPA has a comprehensive site for keeping abreast of any new changes.

A related rule is the Plating and Polishing rule, which pertains to non-chrome plating processes (i.e. chromate conversion and electroforming) and polishing (i.e. electropolishing and dry mechanical). Please visit the Plating and Polishing website for more information on that rule.

In Tennessee, air pollution is regulated in five geographical areas:

Most of the state is regulated directly by state Air Pollution Control. There are also four local air pollution control programs:

Other Permit Categories:

Electroplaters, particularly those that do hard or decorative chromium electroplating, have several regulations that affect their operations. Most facilities will need multiple permits relating to air pollution, hazardous waste, and water pollution. They may also need to develop an operations and maintenance plan as outlined in the regulations affecting a facility. Several resource links and documents are available.

Hazardous Waste

Electroplaters are usually classified as small quantity generators or large quantity generators of hazardous waste by the state Division of Solid and Hazardous Waste Management. A permit is required for the treatment, storage, or disposal of hazardous waste from plating processes.

Water Pollution

Electroplaters who discharge process water to a publicly owned treatment works (POTW) must obtain a permit from the operator of the POTW. A state NPDES Permits is required for discharge of process water to surface waters. Manufacturers must also have a permit for storm water runoff unless they can show no exposure and submit a No Exposure Certification.