Torreón Plant Receives Recognition from Mexican Government for Environmental Efforts

September 26, 2023

The Essex Furukawa facility in Torreón, Mexico was one of just 26 recently recognized by the Coahuila state government for five consecutive years of compliance with environmental responsibilities and operating excellence. The magnet wire plant has been compliant with the annual operating certificate (COA) process since 2001 but the ceremony was for any organization that had achieved five. It was one of the only manufacturing companies to be awarded the distinction.

Remaining in good standing with the COA process requires consistent reporting on emissions as well as monitoring potential transfer of pollutants to the air, soil, and water to local government agencies. The documentation is also used as part of Vision 2030 initiatives related to Carbon Reduction, UN SDG Partnerships, as well as Accountability, Reporting, and Governance.

Nitzia Eréndira Mendoza Ayoub is the Process Engineer Manager at the plant. She said that meeting all the requirements can be difficult, though well defined.

“There are a lot of things that we have to accomplish, and a lot that we have to monitor and be aware of,” she said. “We are tracking potential emissions into the air; diagraming where any potential pollutants might go in the soil, and we are following more than 20 laws to remain compliant.”

The use of grey water is common in Mexico, and at the Torreón facility. Grey water is a relatively clean wastewater from baths, sinks, washing machines, and other appliances that contains fewer pathogens than domestic wastewater. It is also safe to handle and relatively easier to treat and reuse in non-potable situations like gardening or beautification, as many companies do.

Technicians at the Torreón plant have a process that takes the water back to potable levels for use in production.

The grey water is collected from the municipality underground piping into tanks which are then pumped to a proprietary clarifying process that includes zeolite resin, chlorination, and ultra-filtration before the use of activated carbon is introduced for additional filtering. From there it is processed through a reverse osmosis membrane that eliminates impurities. The resulting water is then held in a cistern tank before a second process of reverse osmosis—with a UV light sterilization process—converts the water into 100% potable option for use in the production process.

The system used in the plant is complex—though efficient—and it is now receiving attention from outside stakeholders. Plant Manager Antonio Padilla has had meetings with leaders in Torreón regarding the process contributing to the municipality treatment options.

“What we are doing is unique,” Padilla said. “The mayor’s office doesn’t know anywhere else taking grey water to potable. Some companies will do minor processing but not to the level we do here.

“We have to get to potable in order to use what was once grey water in our wire manufacturing process, and we have an economically viable option to do just that.”

The certification is similar to an ISO 14001 Environmental Management System certification and data that is collected locally is reported up to state and federal levels contributing to the Mexican government tracking of greenhouse gas emissions.

Both Susana Estens de la Garza, the Director of Environment for the city of Torreón, as well as Eglantina Canales Gutiérrez, head of the State’s Environment Secretariat, expressed their appreciation for the commitments made by each company.

Gutiérrez also presented the plant with a letter of commendation that, according to Padilla, will be added to a display area at the plant alongside the other awards that his team has received.

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