SAN FRANCISCO -- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency today recognized Valley Chrome Plating for its achievements in environmental and worker protection under the National Partnership for Environmental Priorities (NPEP) program. The plating company, located in Clovis, Calif., successfully substituted lead anodes and hexavalent chromium with less harmful alternatives. These advancements have resulted in the reduction of these harmful chemicals by 9,000 pounds—significantly protecting the environment and worker exposure.
“This is a great example of how a company can protect its employees and the environment while growing its business and providing important local jobs,” said Jared Blumenfeld, EPA’s Regional Administrator for the Pacific Southwest. “Removing thousands of pounds of lead and chromium-six from its products ensures a safer environment for Valley Chrome Plating’s workers and the community.”
In 2009, the company eliminated the use of hexavalent chromium and replaced it with the more environmentally friendly trivalent chromium. That same year, Valley Chrome also replaced its lead anodes with safer graphite anodes. The switch to graphite and trivalent chromium has eliminated 3,000 pounds of lead waste and 6,000 pounds of hexavalent chromium from its waste stream.
In addition to altering the materials used its truck bumpers and accessories; Valley Chrome discharges zero wastewater to the public sewers through recycling and the underground plumbing that captures roof run-off from the facility for re-use. This system collects up to 100,000 gallons of rain water that is then used by the facility as part of its cleaning and finishing processes. Valley Chrome also installed ion exchange waste reduction systems in its manufacturing and plating operations, further reducing pollution associated with trivalent chromium as well as nickel plating.
These innovations saved this family-owned company thousands of dollars in waste treatment costs, hauling fees and reduced energy consumption and still allowed the company to compete in the global market.
Hexavalent chromium is associated with irritation to the skin, nose, eyes and throat and more serious complications. Lead is a toxic metal used in plating tanks as anodes. Lead is tied to a range of health effects, including behavioral problems, learning disabilities, seizures and death. Children six years old and under are at most risk.
NPEP was a voluntary program fostering partnerships between regulatory agencies and manufacturers, commercial companies, and other facilities to reduce the use and release of highly toxic chemicals. NPEP officially ended in 2011. The NPEP partnership encouraged innovative thinking about conservation of our natural resources and ways to substitute, reduce, reuse and recycle..
Today’s announcement was part of Regional Administrator Jared Blumenfeld’s two day “Whistle Stop Tour” of San Joaquin Valley. For more information on his overall visit, today’s event and photos, please visit: http://www.epa.gov/region9/mediacenter/sjv-tour/