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A & P2 for Garment Cleaning

Organization(s) Maine Dept. of Environmental Protection
Project Description Maine's fabric care business sector presently offers choices for garment cleaning without the use of PCE. The Maine Department of Environmental Protection's (ME DEP) web site lists 16 businesses that offer wet cleaning to their customers. Some of these wet cleaning businesses are also recognized by the state of Maine as Environmental Leaders for their efforts and accomplishments toward carbon emissions reductions in the Governor's Carbon Challenge and other sustainable business practices.

The ME DEP's Division of Remediation began a Dry Cleaner Initiative in 2004. This effort included a statewide inventory to identify dry cleaning business sites (past and present) and to provide a preliminary evaluation of these facilities. This initiative has so far identified 187 dry cleaners in Maine, of which approximately 94 currently or historically used PCE. The remaining sites need additional research to determine if PCE or other solvents were used in the cleaning process. In addition to currently operating dry cleaners, these 187 sites include storefronts and laundry drop-off locations, sites of abandoned/vacant dry cleaners, buildings that once housed a dry cleaner but now operate as another type of business, and dry cleaners that could not be located (although administrative records indicate they existed).

Site investigations discovered that contamination from dry cleaning solvents was not only found in soils and groundwater, but was also found in the indoor air of adjacent and nearby buildings. When chemicals volatize from impacted soil and/or groundwater beneath a building, they can diffuse toward regions of lower chemical concentration, often migrating into overlying or nearby buildings (a process called vapor intrusion). Unfortunately, any dry cleaner that used PCE or other solvents to clean clothing could pose a substantial vapor intrusion risk. Remediation costs for an individual site can be expensive and have been known to exceed one million dollars.

A new Maine law that will prevent future contamination of private and public drinking water supplies from dry cleaners that use PCE will take effect on September 30, 2008. This law, Public Law Chapter 569 "An Act to Prevent Contamination of Drinking Water Supplies," prohibits dry cleaners that use PCE (as well as some other types of businesses and oil storage facilities) from constructing a facility in a wellhead protection zone, unless a variance is provided by the ME DEP. The new law also provides additional protections to sand and gravel aquifers and mandates the ME DEP to develop regulations for protection of significant sand and gravel aquifers.

Maine DEP's Bureau of Air Quality provides outreach to dry cleaners to assist with compliance with amended EPA regulatory requirements pertaining to revised standards under the Clean Air Act. The Department conducted a "Dry Cleaner Workshop" in August 2007, which included presentations on EPA's dry cleaner regulations, Maine's dry cleaner rulemaking, compliance issues, and alternatives to perchloroethylene. Two Maine Environmental Leader businesses gave presentations concerning their wet cleaning and energy efficient laundering processes as part of the workshop, and 12 independent dry cleaner business owners and representatives of the North East Fabricare Association attended this meeting and provided feedback on Maine's working draft Perchloroethylene Dry Cleaner Rule. The Bureau of Air Quality's dry cleaner rulemaking will incorporate EPA's amended regulatory requirements and provide further measures to prevent exposure to PCE by workers and inhabitants of adjacent buildings.

More Info www.maine.gov/dep/innovation
Project Contact
Name Lisa Higgins
Phone 207-791-8101
Project Keywords
Industrial Sectors Garment Cleaning
Activity Keywords Policy/Legislative, Research and development, Training/workshops, Website updates
Newsletter Northeast Assistance & Pollution Prevention News - Vol. 18 No. 2, Fall 2008 [PDF]


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Last Modified 09/08/2009

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