Environmental protection at Aurubis Buffalo

Aurubis Buffalo, located in the state of New York, is about a half-hour away from Niagara Falls by car. Copper products have been fabricated here since 1906.

The completely integrated plant with approximately 580 employees includes a copper and brass foundry, a hot rolling mill and cold rolling mills, a number of annealing furnaces, and a number of longitudinal slitting machines to produce strips with a variety of copper alloys, for example for connectors, telecommunications, and electrical applications. In 2003, the plant became the first rolling mill for copper alloys in North America to earn TS 16949 certification, a quality management certificate based on ISO 9001. The investment program to modernize the plant is continuously updated.

Aurubis Buffalo operates environmental protection facilities in order to minimize emissions and to protect nature. All foundry off-gases pass through control devices (bag houses) and pass through dedicated filters prior to entering the atmosphere. Resulting filter dust that accumulates in the process is collected and subsequently sold to a third party as a substitute to mining raw zinc. The acidic rinse water from the copper/alloy cleaning operation is neutralized and treated in the company’s on-site treatment plant, which has signification capital investment in upgrades and improvement during recent years. The filter cake produced in the waste treatment plant still contains valuable metals and is therefore sent off for recycling. The 90% of the electricity consumption is obtained from a renewable power source, the Niagara Falls hydroelectrical generation plant.

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) identified environmental deficiencies at the Aurubis site in Buffalo, USA, and initiated legal proceedings in 2018. The deficiencies were related to the handling of hazardous substances and wastewater treatment.

To remedy these issues, the site developed an action plan that includes over 16 individual measures which have been implemented. With this regard, over 1 million US dollars, have been invested in technical upgrades at the site. Additionally, the number of Environmental management personnel have been increased and the organizational structures have been modified. Also, close monitoring with the help of external consultants is in place and should contribute to further risk minimization.

The introduction of an environmental management system in accordance with ISO 14001 is planned and should be implemented by the end of 2022.

The Aurubis Buffalo site has been working jointly with the environmental team in Buffalo to increase education and awareness of chemical exposure; handling chemicals; managing hazardous & non-hazardous waste; process improvements to reduce waste generation; and environmental compliance requirement. Aurubis Buffalo ensures that the plant is in compliance with federal and state regulatory requirements and laws.

We are continually raising awareness of new and changing environmental regulations through an education program that all employees participate in, which includes executive management and hourly workers to ensure all employees at Aurubis Buffalo are aware of federal and state regulatory systems.

Beyond the central environmental targets, additional activities were carried out for the benefit of the employees and the environment during the reporting period. For example:

  • Continually re-evaluating the plant and processes waste reduction for potential opportunities
  • Installation of high-level alarms with automatic shutoffs on production equipment containment sumps. Conversion of the Cast Shop bag house sprinkler system from a “wet” to “dry” system.
  • Secondary containment enclosure for baghouse cyclone system
Environmental Protection Buffalo – facts & figures
Decrease of water withdrawal
Decrease of CO2 emissions
Current environmental targets and measures
Wastewater treatment plant upgrades

Description:

  • Wastewater treatment plant upgrades to improve efficiency and automation

Status:

  • 95% complete (Finalization by end of September 2022)

Chemical bulk storage areas

Description:

  • Upgrades to containment & transfer areas

Status:

  • Complete

Compliance monitoring

Description:

  • Auditing of compliance status for gap and program development needs

Status:

  • Ongoing

Technical and organizational measures in the wastewater treatment plant

Description:

  • WWTP plant upgrades, documentation of procedures for employee training

Status:

  • Complete

Regular “shadow compliance inspections“ by external consultants

Description:

  • Review of all environmental programs by outside consultant for regulatory compliance.  First one completed in June 2019.

Status:

  • Ongoing

Sewer drain survey

Description:

  • Comprehensive survey of all sewer drains for potential risk of unintended discharge to the Publicly Owned Treatment Work (POTW).  128 sewer drains identified and appropriate actions taken

Status:

  • Complete

Petroleum Bulk Storage areas

Description:

  • Upgrades to the delivery systems & containment moat.

Status:

  • Complete

Environmental Policy

We have established this Environmental Policy to be consistent with the purpose and context of our organization. It provides a framework for the setting and review of environmental objectives in addition to our commitment towards the following:

  • Protect the environment, including the prevention of pollution
  • Management of waste streams
  • Conform to applicable legislative, regulatory and compliance obligations
  • Continually improve our Environmental Management System and to enhance environmental performance 
Contact
Elizabeth Zurowski
Elizabeth Zurowski

Senior Manager - Health, Safety & Environment

Phone +1 716 879 6905
Mobile +1 716 289 4662
Send e-mail
Certificates Aurubis Buffalo