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Effluent Guidelines

Electrical and Electronic Components Effluent Guidelines

""EPA promulgated the Electrical and Electronic Components (E&EC) Effluent Guidelines and Standards (40 CFR Part 469) in 1983. The regulation covers directHelpdirect dischargerA point source that discharges pollutants to waters of the United States, such as streams, lakes, or oceans. and indirectHelpindirect dischargerA facility that discharges pollutants to a publicly owned treatment works (municipal sewage treatment plant). dischargers. The E&EC Effluent Guidelines and Standards are incorporated into NPDES permits for direct dischargers, and permits or other control mechanisms for indirect dischargers (see Pretreatment Program).


What is the Electrical and Electronic Components Industry?

E&EC facilities manufacture semiconductors, such as integrated circuits and light emitting diodes (LEDs); electronic crystals (made from quartz, ceramics and other materials), cathode ray tubes; and luminescent materials used as coatings in fluorescent lamps.

Wastewater is generated from processes such as etching, cleaning, degreasing, cutting and grinding. Pollutants found in wastewaters include fluoride, arsenic and organic compounds.

Processes and Major Wastewater Sources
Processes Description
Cutting and slicing Crystals are cut or sliced using diamond blade saws or slurry saws. Water can be used for cooling and lubrication and to carry away removed material.
Lapping or polishing Mechanical grinders and chemical etchants are used to remove surface oxides and to provide a smooth surface. Water can be used for cooling and lubrication and to carry away removed material.
Cleaning, rinsing and degreasing Removal of etchants, photoresist material, stripping solutions and acid and alkaline solutions from materials after various processing and production steps.
These activities are included within the following NAICS groups:
  • 325180: Other Basic Inorganic Chemical Manufacturing
  • 334413: Semiconductor and Related Device Manufacturing
  • 334418: Printed Circuit Assembly (Electronic Assembly) Manufacturing
  • 334419: Other Electronic Component Manufacturing

Note: the NAICS listing is provided as a guide and does not define the coverage of the E&EC category. For precise definitions of coverage, see the applicability sections in 40 CFR Part 469.

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Diagram of Effluent Guidelines regulation coverage for metals industriesMetals coverage under Effluent Guidelines
- Click to enlarge

Facilities Covered

The regulation applies to facilities organized into four subcategories:
  1. Semiconductor
  2. Electronic Crystals
  3. Cathode Ray Tube
  4. Luminescent Materials

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Detailed Study - 2018

EPA is conducting a detailed study of the Electrical and Electric Components regulation to determine if revisions are necessary. EPA is soliciting information related to what might have changed since the regulation was promulgated in 1983, such as:
  • How many facilities are covered by the existing regulation?
  • Do these facilities discharge directly, or indirectly?
  • What is the volume and composition of the waste streams?
  • Have the waste stream compositions changed since the regulation was promulgated?
  • Are new treatment systems being utilized or have process changes been implemented to reduce pollutant loadings in wastewaters?
  • How effective has the regulation been in treating waste streams?
  • Are there industries, not present in 1983, that should be included in this category?
  • Are there industries, contemplated in the near future, that should be included in this category?

The Agency solicits information on these questions, as well as any other information believed to be relevant to this study.


Guidance Documents

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Rulemaking History

1983 “Phase 2” Rule

Subparts C & D
  • Documents, including:
    • Final Rule (December 14, 1983)
    • Development Document (February 1984)
      Industry description, wastewater characterization, treatment technologies, regulatory compliance cost estimates and pollutant loadings for the final rule
    • Proposed Rule (March 9, 1983)

1983 “Phase 1” Rule

Subparts A & B
  • Documents, including:
    • Final Rule (April 8, 1983)
    • Development Document (April 1983)
      Industry description, wastewater characterization, treatment technologies, regulatory compliance cost estimates and pollutant loadings for the final rule
    • Proposed Rule (August 24, 1982)

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Additional Information

For additional information regarding E&EC Effluent Guidelines, please contact Anthony Tripp (tripp.anthony@epa.gov) or 202-566-1419.

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