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Kelly Air Force Base

Year Submitted: 2003

Process: Parts Cleaning

Industry: Military

Wastes Reduced: VOC Emissions

Substance: Chlorinated Solvents

Equipment: Smaller Degreasers

Location: San Antonio TX

No. of employees: 13000

Contact: Greg Vallery

Phone: (210) 925-3100


Perchloroethylene, also known as PCE, Perc, or Perco, is a chlorinated solvent widely used in degreasing operations. It is employed in many vapor degreasers at Kelly AFB for cleaning and degreasing engine parts. Many parts are cleaned in vapor degreasers before being sent to nondestructive inspection (NDI) or plating. After plating, masked parts are dipped in hot wax to recover the bulk of the wax maskant, and lowered into a vapor degreaser (dewax unit) to remove the thin film of wax that remains. Due to its excessive size, inadequate cooling capacity, and inoperative safety controls, most of the Perco that is introduced into the dewax unit is exhausted to the atmosphere. Modifications in the existing dewax process line and changes in operating procedures to eliminate the loss of Perco is the objective of this project. Perco is one of the chemicals targeted on the EPA 17 Industrial Toxics Program, It is responsible for 36,000 pounds of waste Perco produced by the plating shop.

P2 Application:

The project consists of the replacement of the present vapor degreaser with a smaller, more efficient compliant vapor degreaser.

Environmental Benefits:

The process change will yield a 90% reduction in perco usage based on manufacturer's data. Expected usage of perco in the dewax line will be reduced from 155,000 pounds/yr to 26,000 pounds/yr.

Details of Reductions

Additional Information :

The compliant vapor degreaser should yield an annual savings of $31,000/yr in material purchase and approximately $18,000/yr in waste disposal.

Source: TCEQ

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