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Industrial Laundry Agrees to Clean Air Act Settlement

Release Date: 11/05/2014
Contact Information: David Deegan, (617) 918-1017

BOSTON – A national industrial laundry company, AmeriPride Services Inc., has voluntarily stopped laundering materials that emitted air pollutants from its Worcester, Mass. and Hartford, Conn. facilities. These communities are expected to benefit from resulting lower air emissions.

In the recent Clean Air Act settlement with EPA, Ameripride will pay $75,000 to resolve EPA claims that the company had failed to seek air permits and control emissions between 1988 and 2013 when it installed new industrial washers and dryers. This equipment was used to launder shop and print towels, which can be significant sources of volatile organic compounds (VOCs). VOCs include a variety of chemicals that may produce adverse health effects such as eye, nose and throat irritation, headaches, nausea and damage to the liver, kidney and central nervous system. Emissions of VOCs also contribute to the formation of ground-level ozone.

Ameripride no longer launders shop or print towels at these facilities. In 2013, AmeriPride stopped laundering print and shop towels in Worcester, and ended all laundering operations in Hartford. “Shop towels,” which are towels used to clean mechanical equipment, parts and devices, can contain VOC solvents. “Print towels,” which are used to clean printing or graphic arts equipment, typically contain higher levels of VOC solvents. Industrial laundries can process hundreds of tons of soiled towels, uniforms and other textiles per year in washers that can handle single loads up to 450 pounds. As a result, VOC emissions from these facilities can be significant.

EPA has conducted a series of emissions tests and inspections over seven years at industrial laundries in New England, focusing on those that supply and launder towels on a rental basis. AmeriPride was one of several industrial laundries issued notices of violations in the last several years by EPA. Earlier in 2014, UniFirst Corp., based in Mass., and Cintas Corp., based in Ohio, together paid nearly $460,000 in penalties to settle EPA claims. Both companies operate industrial laundry facilities across the country, but the settlements addressed violations solely at the companies’ New England facilities. UniFirst and Cintas promised to follow a set of towel handling procedures, including not laundering print towels, to minimize VOC emissions, and to apply for state air permits. In addition, EPA has settled enforcement cases with G&K Services Co and Coyne Textile Services for similar violations of the Clean Air Act over the past few years.

AmeriPride cooperated with EPA in reaching settlements at these two facilities.

More information:

Report an Environmental Violation

Enforcing the Clean Air Act

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