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NYS Governor's Awards for Pollution Prevention - Dowcraft Corporation

Dowcraft Corporation, Falconer


By changing industrial operations, replacing a cleaning system and changing raw materials, Dowcraft reduced its generation of hazardous waste, eliminated the use of trichloroethylene (TCE) and reduced the use of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in painting operations.

Dowcraft produces computer cabinets and moveable office partitions. Approximately 90 employees work at this facility grinding, welding, painting and assembling metal hardware. The hardware is found in offices around the world.

With the costs and liability associated with waste disposal and employee safety increasing, Dowcraft worked with DEC staff to undertake this pollution prevention project. The company found that implementation of several pollution prevention processes could reduce a number of waste streams, which allowed the company to be excluded from Clean Air Act Title V permitting requirements.

Methodologies and Procedures

Dowcraft was using a TCE vapor degreaser system to clean metal parts. The degreaser released TCE, a hazardous contaminant, into the atmosphere. In addition, hazardous waste was generated by the cleaning of the system and the disposal of TCE-contaminated still bottoms.

The company replaced the TCE vapor degreaser with an aqueous system, which includes a two-stage phosphatizing process and an oven. Waste generated from this cleaning process is not a listed hazardous waste and is treated onsite before discharge to a local publicly owned treatment works. The residual sludge is a non-regulated industrial waste and is sent offsite to a treatment, storage and disposal facility for use in a fuel blending process.

Dowcraft substituted a high solids, low VOC paint for the conventional higher VOC paint previously used. The new paint has a higher coating capability compared to conventional industrial paints, so less paint is needed to cover the parts.

New painting equipment enables the company to capture and reuse paint over-spray. In the past, the over-spray was captured by a filter and the VOCs were allowed to evaporate.

Projects using similar colors of paint were grouped together on the painting schedule. The new schedule has reduced the number of times needed to purge the paint lines and the amount of solvent needed to flush the lines.


The company has realized definite economic benefits in the areas of hazardous waste disposal costs, reduction in paint and solvent usage, reduction in the costs of raw materials and improved production efficiency. Between 1992 and 1993, VOC emissions were reduced from 38.2 tons to 20.3 tons, hazardous waste generation was reduced from 14.9 tons to 9.3 tons, and TCE emissions were reduced to zero.

Potential liability has been lessened through a reduction in the quantities of hazardous materials stored onsite, managed, and used and through a decrease in the quantity of waste sent offsite for treatment and disposal.

Reduction in waste transported through the community and reductions in quantity and toxicity of materials stored onsite reduces the chance of potential exposures.

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This page was last modified March 8, 1999

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