Gallatin Steel filters and recycles water in the cooling process as it recycles scrap metal and makes rolled steel. The company's problem was the oil and grease that built up in the filtration system, which meant increased water use, greater energy consumption to run pumps and more frequent filter replacements.

"We recognize that environmental protection is a key value and good business," says Tobin Pospisil, president of Gallatin in Ghent, Ky. "As a major recycler of millions of tons of scrap metal, we wanted to find ways to improve our cooling system operation to save water and energy as well."

Engineers at Naperville, Ill.-based Nalco worked with Gallatin employees to understand the mechanical and operating factors affecting water system performance. Then they used Nalco Cat-Floc technology to reduce oil and solids in water that directly contacts the steel during production, which improved filtration operations. Nalco 3D Trasar technology optimized cooling system water, enhancing water reuse and recycling.

The results reduced annual raw water use by 179 million gal/yr and decreased pump operations, saving 2.3 million kWh of energy annually. The energy cutback avoided nearly 2,400 tons of annual greenhouse gas emissions while improved filtration eliminated land-filling 410 tons of sludge each year. Gallatin's environmental return on investment also included substantial savings in energy, maintenance and waste disposal costs.