A Love/Hate Relationship With Zinc

With Washington cracking down on industrial stormwater permits and independent action groups chomping at the bit to sue violators, it is prime time to switch to zinc-free hydraulic oil; but it shouldn’t cost you an arm and a leg.

Today, Zinc is one of the most heavily scrutinized metals. On one hand it is commended for its necessity in beauty and hygiene products with benefits spouting anti-age and strengthening the human immune system against heart disease, cancer and diabetes. Zinc has transformed the capability of hydraulic oils over the past couple decades, as an anti-wear and antioxidant additive that keeps pushing performance levels. On the other hand, it is measured and shamed for its presence in stormwater collection due to its toxicity in aquatic life. If your facilities presence is within 30 miles of a major waterway in the Pacific Northwest, chances are your business is also being monitored for its zinc content in rainwater discharge. A single drop of hydraulic oil on an acre of impervious surface can lead to failed zinc levels in stormwater collection.

By switching to a zinc-free hydraulic oil, companies can eliminate at least one possible contributor to their failed stormwater tests. In the past few years, zinc-free additives have come a long way, offering comparable quality. Shell’s Tellus S3 M hydraulic oil has outstanding zinc-free technology and impressive test results without the shocking price.

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