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Arnold business agrees to clean up discharge to avoid fine by New Ken authority

Tuesday, Jan. 22, 2013, 12:01 a.m.

A local business will not be subject to a fine from the New Kensington Municipal Sanitary Authority pending corrective action.

Larry Vogel, environmental engineer for Keystone Rustproofing in Arnold, on Monday night made the request before the board.

Dan “Skip” Rowe, treatment plant manager, said Keystone was cited in October for exceeding limits on the discharge of certain materials from the business. It faces a fine of up to $18,000, Rowe said.

Under the authority's pretreatment program, businesses are required to remove harmful substances that are used in or may be a byproduct of manufacturing processes. The idea is to have such materials removed before wastewater from businesses reaches the sewage plant where treatment can be a problem. A member of the authority's staff coordinates the program to ensure compliance.

“We occasionally have a slip up with nickel, which I think is a big deal for you guys,” Vogel said.

Vogel said the company has a plan to address the problem and, it hopes, do away with discharges of heavy metals such as nickel.

He said the company has made $50,000 worth of upgrades to improve the pH level of the wastewater discharge and it has worked.

What the plan involves in the short term is removing as much nickel as possible from the rinse water of the rustproofing process.

He said that is being done through the use of copper plates placed into the stagnant rinse water which picks up nickel deposits. Vogel said they began doing that in November and held up one of the plates heavily encrusted with nickel after being used in the collection process. He said the plates pick up about a pound to a pound and a half of the metal at a time.

Vogel emphasized that is being done before the wastewater is released from the company's operation.

In addition, he said Keystone intends to add a filter at the wastewater release point to pick up more metals that will cost about $5,000 to $10,000.

In the long term, Vogel said the company wants to install a plantwide “ultra-filtration system” that will prevent any hazardous metals discharge. He said that is about three to four years into the future.

“We are meeting our limits 95 to 98 percent of the time. When I'm missing it, it's not by much,” Vogel said. “That's why I'm asking you to mitigate the fines, so I can put that money toward an ultra-filtration system.”

Authority member Dan Felack said, “I'm in favor of allowing you to work through this plan but my only concern is that you stick to the plan.”

Vogel assured the authority Keystone would hold to its plan and the board agreed to defer the fines for six months while it monitors Keystone's progress.

Tom Yerace is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-226-4675 or

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