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The Surface Technology Environmental Resource Center (STERC) provides a wealth of useful environmental compliance information to the surface finishing and surface treatment industry.

This website was developed and is maintained by the National Center for Manufacturing Sciences, in partnership with the AESF Foundation and the National Association for Surface Finishing. Funding for this project has been provided by US EPA under the National Compliance Assistance Centers program and the AESF Foundation / National Association for Surface Finishing. For more information, or to pass along suggestions, please contact: Lisa Stobierski, Sr. Program Manager.


June 15-17, 2020
Georgia World Congress Center, Atlanta, GA

NASF Leadership
Conference 2020

February 25-28, 2020
Ocean Reef Club,
Key Largo, FL

NASF Washington Forum 2020
Washington Forum 2020,
April 20-22 Ritz Carlton,
Pentagon City, VA


P2 Research and Implementation for Michigan Metal Finishers or PRIM. A project conducted by the National Center for Manufacturing Sciences (NCMS) and National Association for Surface Finishing (NASF). Users can access several project products, including capsule reports and an on-line rinsing manual. The Rinsing Manual is designed to help metal finishing facilities improve their rinsing processes. The manual is a step-by-step guide with plain language, graphics and video. A section of the manual contains a new method for calculating potential savings in dragout that would be expected if the rack drain time over the plating tank were extended by a few seconds.

Technical Articles. A new STERC feature, was added in 2018 to showcase the technical expertise of NASF members. New articles are added monthly. The articles focus on technical, scientific, regulatory, and practical issues for the finishing industry. All STERC users have free access to this feature.

PFAS Resource Center. The National Association for Surface Finishing has launched a new on-line resource. The site includes background information on the use of PFAS in the surface finishing industry and extensive technical resources.


NASF PFAS Resource Center is now live on the NASF web site

The National Association for Surface Finishing has launched a PFAS Resource Center. The site includes background information on the use of PFAS in the surface finishing industry and extensive technical resources.

Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are a group of man-made chemicals that includes PFOA and PFOS, the latter of which was previously used in chrome plating fume suppressants. These chemicals are very persistent in the environment and in the human body and they can accumulate over time. There is evidence that exposure to PFAS can lead to adverse human health effects.

Although PFOS use in the surface finishing industry represented less than one half of one percent of U.S. and global PFOS use, NASF has taken a very active role in addressing the PFAS issues. NASF proactively approached EPA and began a process that led to the industry itself requesting a national, industry-wide ban from EPA on the use of PFOS in chromium plating operations, which was finalized under a new federal Clean Air Act rule in 2012.

Visit the NASF PFAS Resource Center for historical information on PFAS use in the surface finishing industry, safer chemical substitutions, NASF actions and priorities, and extensive additional resources. All questions regarding the NASF and the surface plating industry’s environmental stewardship efforts to address PFOS in wastewater discharges should be directed to Christian Richter at or Jeff Hannapel at

Additional resource: EPA's PFAS Website provides background information, tools and resources, and identifies actions EPA has taken to address PFAS.

NASF and U.S. EPA Region 5 Partnership to Reduce Halogenated Solvents

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) Region 5's office has initiated a voluntary air toxic reduction effort with regulated industry sectors in the states of Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio and Wisconsin. Facilities covered by the Degreasing Organic Cleaners Halogenated Solvent Cleaners standard (40 CFR Part 63, Subpart T) may receive a letter from EPA Region 5 requesting their participation to help reduce or eliminate the use of the regulated solvents.

Halogenated solvents include:

  • Trichloroethylene (TCE)
  • Methyl chloroform (TCA, 111- trichloroethane)
  • Dichloromethane (DCM, methylene chloride)
  • Perchloroethylene (PERC)
  • Carbon Tetrachloride (CTC)

The National Association for Surface Finishing (NASF) and the surface finishing industry has made significant progress in reducing the use of halogenated solvents and air emissions from these solvents. Historically, these solvents have been used to clean parts prior to finishing. A clean surface is critical to apply a quality surface finish, particularly to meet customer specifications. In some cases halogenated solvents are still in use because it is not feasible to use substitute solvents for some applications. Where halogenated solvents continue to be used, facilities implement a variety of control technologies to minimize air emissions.

Even with the success in reducing emissions of halogenated solvents from the surface finishing industry, NASF is partnering with EPA to help members identify more options for product substitution and improved control technologies designed to reduce or eliminate air emissions from the use of halogenated solvents. Solvent substitution may allow the facility to reduce or eliminate permit or other compliance requirements under the federal standard, protect worker health and reduce costs.

More information on alternative solvents can be found on EPA's website: More information about this initiative is available in EPA Region 5’s fact sheet, found on the Great Lakes Pollution Prevention Roundtable's website at: In addition, NASF and EPA are planning to develop a webinar to provide more details on this initiative in the near future. For more information regarding the NASF/EPA partnership on this initiative, please contact Jeff Hannapel with NASF at

NASF Completes Metals Loading Study Highlighting Industry’s Clean Water Success

NASF has released a study pointing to the finishing industry’s major success in reducing metals discharges to local water treatment utilities in recent decades. The surface finishing industry is subject to two categorical standards for wastewater discharged to publicly owned treatment works (POTWs). In the past three years, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has conducted a review of the categorical standards and discharge limits. During that time, the NASF has been working closely with EPA officials to provide information and analysis on the industry’s progress on wastewater discharge improvements.




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The information contained in this site is provided for your review and convenience. It is not intended to provide legal advice with respect to any federal, state, or local regulation.
You should consult with legal counsel and appropriate authorities before interpreting any regulations or undertaking any specific course of action.

Please note that many of the regulatory discussions on STERC refer to federal regulations. In many cases, states or local governments have promulgated relevant rules and standards
that are different and/or more stringent than the federal regulations. Therefore, to assure full compliance, you should investigate and comply with all applicable federal, state and local regulations.