Business

Auburn's Black Oxide award for 'clean' practices

Myron Lewis, president of Black Oxide LLC, gathers some carbon steel fasteners his company coated. The black oxide process provides aesthetic appeal, durability, stability and corrosion protection to metals.                                - Mark Klaas/Auburn Reporter
Myron Lewis, president of Black Oxide LLC, gathers some carbon steel fasteners his company coated. The black oxide process provides aesthetic appeal, durability, stability and corrosion protection to metals.
— image credit: Mark Klaas/Auburn Reporter

Myron Lewis runs a clean business.

So much in fact that his north Auburn company, which specializes in color development in metal, is frequently honored for its environmentally sound practices.

For more than 15 years, Black Oxide, LLC, has found its marketing niche, using a coating solution to blacken machined metals. It processes thousands of pounds of carbon steel, stainless steel, brass, copper and bronze each year, ranging from small screws to aircraft jigs, large tools to machine gears, varied fixtures to medical instruments.

The company serves more than 200 manufacturers in the area, including Boeing, Fatigue Technologies, Automated Systems of Tacoma, Rottler Manufacturing, Mega Machine and other industrial customers.

Black Oxide's coating solutions require special application and care to the environment. For its pollution prevention efforts, the company recently was honored by King County’s Industrial Waste Program.

The company received the county's Commitment-to-Compliance Award in a ceremony last week. Black Oxide was honored for protecting water quality by meeting or exceeding its wastewater discharge permit requirements in 2009.

Black Oxide also received the award in 2008. The company has won 14 annual gold awards and one silver for compliance.

"(We are) honored to receive this award from King County Industrial Waste," said Lewis, the company president, in a release. "It means all of us did everything the right way, including the King County inspectors. This takes education, dedication to the cause and being concerned about the environment."

Lewis' business, which began in Auburn in 1980, spun off another company, Universal Brass Inc., a manufacturer of automotive accessories. Black Oxide began to emerge when the Westinghouse Hanford Co. approached it with a need for extensive black oxide coatings. Other companies soon came calling.

Lewis has maintained a solid business by doing things safely and responsibly.

"In a visit to Taiwan a few years back, I found all the rivers were horridly polluted and the water was unsafe to drink from the tap," Lewis said. "I promised right then and there I would not complain about our strict environmental laws again, after this experience.

"The work of agencies like King County Industrial Waste helps make our rivers and the (Puget) Sound healthy and great places to enjoy."

Each year, the Industrial Waste Program, which operates as part of the county’s Wastewater Treatment Division, recognizes local companies whose wastewater pretreatment efforts, permit compliance and excellent record keeping contribute to regional pollution prevention goals.

The county presented a Gold Award to 58 companies for discharging wastewater with no violations in 2009, and 17 companies earned a Silver Award for having no discharge monitoring violations in 2009.

Since 1969, the Industrial Waste Program has required many industries to pretreat wastewater before discharging it into the sewer to protect the county’s treatment facilities and its workers as well as the environment and public health.

In addition to regulatory enforcement, the program serves as a resource to businesses by supporting their permit compliance efforts and educating them about pollution prevention, waste reduction and water conservation.

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For more information about the program, visit www.kingcounty.gov/industrialwaste.

To learn more about the Auburn company and its operations, visit www.blackoxidellc.com.

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