Whether plating becomes your greatest blessing or your worst nightmare is pretty much a function of how the environmental issues are addressed. First, you will need the approval of the local government, its zoning and fire departments. Then you need to get approval from the local environmental control authority which is typically the State EPA.
Don't ever think that a plating shop can be installed without the proper permits first being in place. This is where the worst nightmare part comes in. While some may be tempted to get up and running "under the radar screen", the authorities will shut the operation down the second they find out about it. And they will find out. This will result in some very hefty fines and possible criminal prosecution. So there you are sitting on an investment that won't produce an income. It gets worse, the authorities may well require that you dismantle and remove the plating equipment and return the property to its original state. So now you are out the investment, plus the fines and disposal costs.
Plating Resources, Inc. will only be involved with individuals or companies that are willing to address the permitting requirements in the proper manner. The environmental permits typically involve two areas.
Water Discharge Permit:
A water discharge permit needs to be applied for even though the plating system will be Zero Discharge Recovery™ and does not have any connections to the sewer. You will likely receive a letter back stating that "no permit is required" which should be kept in the file.
Air Discharge Permit:
This permit relates to the ventilation system(s). The air discharge permit is actually in two parts; a Permit to Install and a Permit to Operate. Applying for these permits is a very complicated and involved process that requires professional assistance. Detailed calculations must be made on the total annual discharge that is expected, on a pounds per year basis for every chemical involved, as well as numerous calculations regarding the ejection rates, airflow rates, static pressures, velocities, removal efficiencies for the scrubber, etc.
The permit application can only be drafted once these calculations have been completed. These numbers are included in the permit application along with supporting documentation such as blueprints, copy of the property deed, a plot plan of the property and building, a site location map, and supporting technical literature. You will also need to include an Operation And Maintenance Plan (O&M Plan) which requires similar detailed professional work.
The timeframe to complete the calculations and draft the permit application and O&M Plan is around 60 days after completion of the final system engineering. The control agency review will take another 90 days before they respond, assuming there are no delays or revisions needed. Once approved by the control agency the application will be published for public comment which adds another 30 days.
This part of the project will likely span some 6 months, as a minimum, before the plating equipment can be installed. This assumes that everything is in order and there were no delays.
The control authority will then issue a permit to install. The installation process may take 30 - 90 days depending upon the complexity of the system. Once the equipment is up and running the air discharge permit needs to be completed by stack testing to verify that the discharge numbers are in line with the calculations and the application. Stack testing may take another 30 days. Upon approval of the stack test the control authority will issue the final permit to operate.
It is then up to the owner to operate the plating system in accordance with the O&M Plan. Regular system inspections and maintenance are required along with documentation. You can expect regular visits from the control authority to inspect the operation and the records.