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Dry Cleaner Site Contamination

Dry cleaners, by the very nature of their business, are likely to have an adverse impact to the environment.  Although there have been advances in dry cleaning equipment technology (secondary containment and limited access to chemicals), the State Coalition for the Remediation of Dry Cleaners estimates that 75% of dry cleaners have discharged contaminants to the environment.  Therefore, owners of properties with a dry cleaning tenant need to investigate the environmental quality of the subsurface environment to ensure that current and past dry cleaning operations have not resulted in contamination.
The Cause—Percholoroethylene (PERC):

  • PERC widely used since the mid-1950’s
  • 75% of dry cleaners have discharged PERC
  • PERC can penetrate concrete and asphalt thereby contaminating underlying soil and groundwater

Common Discharge Sources:

  • Distillation units and storage tanks
  • Sewer lines and slop sinks
  • Discharge of contact water
  • Improper handling of spent filters, lint, and still bottoms
  • Spills during solvent transfer activities
  • Release during pre-treatment activities
  • Equipment malfunction and/or improper maintenance
  • Release of PERC contaminants through exterior vents

EWMA has investigated more than 100 active and former dry cleaning facilities and designed practical and cost effective remedial solutions to address contamination issues ranging from residual soil impacts, to layers of PERC that have accumulated in different depth of groundwater, to soil vapor intrusion in the dry cleaning tenant space and surrounding tenant spaces and buildings. 

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Environmental Waste Management Associates, LLC

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