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Industrial Applications: Foundry Operations


Foundries expel wastewater directly into surface water and also indirectly through PTOWs (publicly owned treatment works). The EPA publicized the MMC (Metal Molding and Casting Effluent Guidelines and Standards) in 1985, regulating 28 processes such as casting, quench, grinding, scrubber, mold cooling, and many more.  These guidelines are incorporated into NPDES (National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System) permits for direct discharges, and special certifications or other control mechanism for indirect dischargers.

Most foundries are covered by the MMC regulation. They produce metal castings from either ferrous or non-ferrous alloys, which are turned into various parts by melting the metal into a liquid and pouring it into a mold.  Using molds are effective and efficient because they can produce products and shapes that are not easily obtained by any other method of production.

Foundries Covered by the MMC

 These facilities include:
  1. Job Shops- factories that sold 50% or more of their production to customers outside the corporate entity
  2. Captive Plants- factories that sold 50% or more of their products internally or were used within the corporate entity
At the time the MMC was developed, the EPA estimated that about 700 foundries generated and discharged process wastewater. The facilities covered included both direct dischargers and plants that discharge to POTWs. Regulations for each include the following…

 For direct dischargers:
  • cover both continuous and intermittent discharges
  • effluent limitations vary by distinction    
For indirect dischargers/PTOWs:
  • effluent limits apply only to continuous dischargers
  • may elect to establish concentration-based standards for non-continuous discharges

28 Regulated Processes

For 3 of the processes, the technology basis of the regulations is "no discharge of process wastewater pollutants."

The remaining 25, are based on a combination of technologies such as high rate recycle, oil skimming, lime precipitation and settling, and filtration.

See the details here: Metal Molding and Casting Industry PointSource Category Effluent Limitations Guidelines, Pretreatment Standards and NewSource Performance Standards
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