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Effluent Guidelines

Ink Formulating Effluent Guidelines

EPA promulgated the Ink Formulating Effluent Guidelines and Standards (40 CFR Part 447) in 1975. The regulation covers directHelpdirect dischargerA point source that discharges pollutants to waters of the United States, such as streams, lakes, or oceans. and certain indirectHelpindirect dischargerA facility that discharges pollutants to a publicly owned treatment works (municipal sewage treatment plant). dischargers. The Effluent Guidelines are incorporated into NPDES permits for direct dischargers and permits or other control mechanisms for indirect dischargers (see Pretreatment Program).

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What is the Ink Formulating Industry?

The ink formulating industry produces inks with either an oil base or a water base in batches. Both oil-base and water-base inks are made by mixing, grinding, and/or milling raw materials, followed by tinting and thinning and then packaging and shipment.

Oil-base inks require that tanks be cleaned by flushing the tank with solvent and sometimes also with a concentrated caustic solution. Tanks used to produce water-base inks can be washed with water.

These ink formulating facilities are included within North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) group 325910, Printing Ink Manufacturing. The NAICS listing is provided as a guide and does not define the coverage of the Ink Formulating category. For precise definitions of coverage, see the Applicability section in 40 CFR Part 447.

Zero Discharge Requirement

The regulation covers facilities producing oil-base inks with solvent-based cleaning operations. These direct dischargers and "new source" indirect dischargers (i.e. facilities that commenced operation after February 26, 1975) must comply with the zero discharge requirement in the regulation. Solvents used to clean the tanks for oil-base inks do not come into contact with water and can be reclaimed by distillation, reused, or incinerated and thus are not discharged.

Rulemaking History

1975 rule

  • Documents, including:
    • Final Rule (July 28, 1975)
    • Development Document (July 1975)
    • Proposed Rule (February 26, 1975)

Additional Information

For additional information regarding Ink Formulating Effluent Guidelines, please contact Phillip Flanders ( or 202-566-8323.

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