Burlington Dry Cleaner Fined for Leaking Hazardous Air Contaminant

 

 

January 15, 2020 – The Agency of Natural Resources Department of Environmental Conservation announced today that Two Go Dry Cleaning, Inc., owner of Greers Dry Cleaners in Burlington, was fined $8,000 for failing to maintain a dry-cleaning system that prevents leaks of the toxic solvent perchloroethylene, and for mismanaging contaminated waste materials.

Vermont regulations identify nearly 300 hazardous air contaminants (HACs), which are substances known to cause serious health effects if inhaled. These substances range from industrial solvents and chemicals to metals and combustion by-products and originate from a variety of industrial activities taking place across the United States and Vermont. Perchloroethylene, sometimes called tetrachloroethylene or perc, is a solvent commonly used in dry cleaning and a classified HAC in Vermont.

During a December 2018 inspection of the dry-cleaning facility, a DEC inspector found several violations related to the operation of the facility, including inadequate storage of perc-contaminated waste and detectable leaks at three separate components of the dry-cleaning equipment. Additionally, Two Go Dry Cleaning, Inc. staff were unable to produce weekly temperature monitoring records when requested. The DEC inspector notified the business of these violations, along with specific directions for the proper management of perchloroethylene and equipment monitoring. Two follow-up site visits over the next two months by DEC showed the violations, including leaks of perchloroethylene vapors into the air, persisting. 

“Vermonters value the high level of air quality in our state. Because hazardous air contaminants pose a significant risk to public health if released to the environment, industries that rely on these materials have a responsibility to manage, track, and report their use,” says Emily Boedecker, DEC Commissioner. “DEC provides assistance and support in order to help businesses working with hazardous materials understand their obligations to protect public health and the environment.”

The Agency initiated an enforcement action for the violations and Two Go Dry Cleaning, Inc. agreed to settle the matter. The company agreed to pay a penalty of $8,000 for the violations and take specific actions to repair the leaking equipment and manage contaminated waste.  Additionally, the company is required to record and maintain monitoring records and ensure that any future leaks are repaired within 24 hours of discovery. The Vermont Superior Court, Environmental Division incorporated the settlement agreement into an Order of the Court on December 20, 2019.

For more information about DEC’s Air Quality and Climate Division, including information about hazardous air contaminants and the Air Toxics Monitoring program, visit https://dec.vermont.gov/air-quality.