Leading military electrical connector manufacturer - case study

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Application
The client designs and builds complex electrical connectors for salt water applications. The connectors are used in underwater communications cables and to make solid electrical connections within nuclear submarines. Each connector is housed in a durable waterproof rubber material with gold and platinum plated eluctors to optimize electrical conductivity and decrease corrosion.

Wastewater Description
Wastewater contains chromic acid, sulfuric acid, fluoride salts and sulfates from a chromium bath used in the process as well as dissolved nickel salts and cadmium from associated plating baths. The stream also contains precious metals such as gold and platinum, which are used to protect electrical connectors used in submarines and underwater communications cables.

Waste Disposal Goals
The company used approximately 500 to 600 gallons of potable water a day in plating system operations. The potable water was polished by an existing ion exchange system before being used in the various plating baths. The firm’s goal was to recover and recycle all plating and coating rinse waters, reduce the demand for potable water used in parts rinsing and eliminate the necessity for wastewater permits.

Wastewater Treatment Challenge
Former Process: The client was using a conventional wastewater treatment system to treat wastes from their coating and plating operations. The old wastewater system used numerous treatment chemicals and a primary settling clarifier. The treated plant effluent was delivered to the local municipal sewer system. The company was paying substantial sewer and potable water fees.

The wastewater treated by the conventional precipitation system was permit discharged to the local POTW. The company was paying fees for metals concentration and flow. Voluminous sludge from the dewatering operation was hauled away by a licensed hazardous waste carrier at a considerable expense.

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