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Eighty percent of U.S. metalcasting facilities employ fewer than 100


individuals. When you are that small, it can be difficult to gain traction in any setting.


While the risk assessment was


the centerpiece of this success story and the crux of the industry’s case for expanding reuse, the relation- ships cultivated over many years were paramount to being heard. While the Michigan metalcasting industry was organized, the years of leg work prior to taking on this challenge that provided a solid foun- dation for eventual success.


Uphill Battle In 2000, Michigan seemed


like a state where working with metalcasting facilities on broad-


ening recycling use to include more manufactured byproducts like spent sand was not going to happen. The state was conserva- tive in its approach, and the rules for beneficial use at the time were ineffective. They had unrealistic criteria, required extensive noti- fication, recordkeeping, perfor- mance testing and petitions, and past regulatory efforts did not focus on clarifying legal protec- tions for beneficial use. Even some native soils would not have met the criteria of the original rules. Compared to neighboring states


Wisconsin, Indiana and Ohio, Michigan’s beneficial rule left limited opportunity for reuse. It prevented low-risk materials from being reused, stored or disposed of at lower costs, added layers of regulation and called for costly and extensive testing and retest- ing. Changing the rule would be an uphill battle but necessary for metalcasting facilities looking to avoid placing large quantities of safe sand in landfills. Organizers in the state knew in


order to achieve reform, a com- prehensive rule was needed that encouraged the reuse of materi- als, reduced disposal and material costs, extended landfill capacity and conserved resources. To show this effort was about more than just saving money, government officials needed to know more about who and what the met- alcasting industry was. Several groups in Michigan


Members of the Michigan metalcasting industry pose with Rep. Tim Walberg (R-Mich.) (holding the award). Relationships formed with elected officials can pay dividends down the road.


30 | MODERN CASTING April 2016


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