One of my clients (I wonder if I it is right to call them so, since they maintain me busy now for almost a year but they never pay - it is my fault for sure, I was so anxious to become their guru consultant that agreed to be paid at the end... and that end is never close) manufactures security glass for VIP cars and military applications. They have the small problem that they never submitted a request for environmental permit and of course, their wastewater is possibly contaminated. I have to write the request, plan and build and operate the tratment artifact if required, and get the permit. Then, God willing, I may be paid.
I asked them to commission several samplings of the effluents produced by the different departments and the results were bad. The problem as I discovered was that they had no idea how their sewage system worked, since the factory was built in a long patchwork process and all former activities were forgotten. I discovered that the sewage of the painting department went trough an underground interceptor that has been asphalted over and forgotten. It had not been emptied in the last ... years, maybe never. So they emptied it and washed the entire pipe network of the factory.
Then we did a second sampling and analysing round. Since a 24 hour proportional sampling is expensive, I ordered sampling two times in the working day - 9 AM and 1620 PM. They had some parameters over the permissible limits, but not the same ones, so I presume in average they are OK. They have a problem with boron, the limit is 1.5 mg per liter, and they a bit over it and in a consistent way. They also made an analysis of the ink, and the ink contains 300 mg/lt.
Boron is absolutely harmless and no country except Israel is regulating it. Our problem is that some 70 - 80 % of the wastewater goes to recycling as irrigation water, and much of it for citrics. Lemon is very sensitive to boron, cannot tolerate it in the water nor in the soil. Great patches of lemon plantations are underproducing or dead because of the boron problem, which was unknown a few years ago. The wastewater of this specific factory goes to reuse in nearby fish ponds (fish pisses off the boron with no consequences) and rather boron tolerant crops, but I am afraid the regulatory p0wers will not agree with irrigating with boron-high water.
So we are contacting the ink factory in Holland to ask them to reduce the boron content of their ink. I am sure they never had considered the boron an environmental problem and never considered it significant. Boron - I hope - can be sustituted easily. When Israel forbid the import of boron rich detergents and washing machine soap powders, the manufacturers changed their formula for Israel and it has almost no boron. I hope it can be done also with this ink, and solve this problem.
In Israel we are facing issues unknown in other countries. A few days ago I was worrying about ritual baths, and now boron in industrial glass inks. This place forces one to be original and creative, there are no textbook solutions for our special problems (which are mostly self-created!).