By the Numbers: Over 90K U.S. facilities treat, discharge wastewater

Increased regulatory scrutiny has created a big market for treatment of wastewater being discharged directly to receiving streams rather than to municipal treatment plants by more than 90,000 U.S. facilities.

Increased regulatory scrutiny has created a big market for treatment of wastewater being discharged directly to receiving streams rather than to municipal treatment plants by more than 90,000 U.S. facilities.

These facilities in general have large enough flows to justify the investment in treatment equipment rather than pay municipalities for this service. The McIlvaine Company, a Northfield, IL, market research and consulting firm, has compiled rankings of these facilities by number within each industry category and included this display in an online database: "U.S. Industrial Facilities With Water Discharges."

The heavy construction industry heads the list with just under 4,000 facilities: This doesn't include 2,000 ready-mix concrete plants, 1,800 crushed and broken limestone plants, and 1,700 sand and gravel plants. In addition, 1,854 power plants are direct dischargers, a figure that's equaled by the number of gold mines. Another 1,200 bituminous and lignite coal operations are included as well.

The food and related industries are significant discharges. Here are the totals for the largest categories:

Table 1. Food and related industries

No. of plants -- Category
______________________________
688 -- Dairy farms
514 -- Chicken processing
506 -- Cattle lots
497 -- Fish hatcheries
398 -- Hogs
364 -- Seafood
233 -- Poultry and eggs
190 -- Poultry processing
78 -- Milk
47 -- Wet corn milling

These facilities are subject to existing and proposed discharge rules. EPA finalized a rule June 30 to reduce discharges from farm-raised fish facilities that generate wastewater and discharge it directly into U.S. waters. The rule will reduce annual discharges of suspended solids by more than 500,000 pounds and also will reduce the amount of toxic pollutants at 245 facilities that produce at least 100,000 pounds of fish per year and discharge at least 30 days per year.

The chemical industry is another segment with large numbers of direct dischargers. Included are:

Table 2. Chemical industry facilities

No.of plants -- Category
____________________________________
372 -- Industrial organic chemicals
316 -- Plastics and synthetic resins
116 -- Medicinal chemicals
110 -- Pharmaceutical preparations
109 -- Paints and varnishes
70 -- Nitrogen fertilizers
70 -- Cyclic crudes/dyes
61 -- Adhesives
59 -- Pesticides
42 -- Phosphate fertilizers
37 -- Soap
36 -- Explosives

The 90,000 plants include many commercial facilities such as hotels and retail operations. There are also 2,400 gasoline service stations and 1,600 crude oil and gas operations in the database. The database is organized for easy access by geographical location, industry category, or plant name. Contact names and phone numbers are included. A companion database U.S. Industrial Analyses has the State by State segmentation.

For more information on this database, contact the McIlvaine Company at 847-784-0012 or www.mcilvainecompany.com.

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