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EPA Fines Seven Dry Cleaners in New Jersey and New York
Release Date: 07/09/2003
|(#03083) Despite efforts by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to help dry cleaners comply with federal environmental requirements, some operators continue to violate the law. For that reason, EPA has begun to step up its efforts – using both the carrot and stick approaches – toward dry cleaners. Now, EPA has fined six more dry cleaners in New Jersey and one more in New York.
“We are eager to work with dry cleaners that come to us for help to live up to their environmental obligations,” said Jane Kenny, EPA Region 2 Administrator. “But we are adamant that businesses cannot ignore the law.”
In 1993, EPA issued regulations under the Clean Air Act specifically aimed at controlling emissions from the country’s 30,000 dry cleaners that use perchloroethylene, commonly known as “perc.” Dry cleaners are the primary source of air-borne perc, which is a suspected carcinogen and can cause short-term health problems such as respiratory distress or sore throats.
Under EPA regulations, dry cleaners must inspect equipment regularly for leaks, repair any leaks they find, keep records of their inspections, operate all equipment according to manufacturers’ instructions and record how much perc they purchase.
Because the majority of dry cleaners are small businesses and have more difficulty meeting regulations than larger businesses, EPA launched a program to help dry cleaners comply with the law. Officials from EPA Region 2 have visited hundreds of dry cleaners since the late 1990s and held several workshops in association with dry cleaning trade groups. The agency handed out plain-language literature in both English and Korean and offered to review each establishment’s operations and give a temporary amnesty from penalties to give the operators time to come into compliance.
Dry cleaners that demonstrate continued non-compliance with environmental regulations have been, and will continue to be, penalized.
The following are the dry cleaners that were penalized:
B&V Cleaners, Mountain Lakes, New Jersey. B&V was cited for failure to show EPA receipts for its perc purchases; failure to keep a log of perc purchases; failure to keep a log of leak inspections; failure to maintain a log of temperature readings for a refrigerator condenser; and not keeping design specifications and operating manuals on site. B&V agreed to pay a penalty of $1,700.
Daisy Quality Cleaners, Jersey City, New Jersey. Daisy Quality was cited for failure to measure the temperature of a specified vapor stream on a weekly basis; and failure to keep a log of temperature readings for a refrigerator condenser. Daisy Quality agreed to pay a penalty of $800.
Du-Rite Cleaners, Jersey City, New Jersey. Du-Rite was cited for not being able to show receipts of perc purchases; failure to keep a log of monthly perc purchases; failure to keep a record of annual perc consumption; and not having on-site operating manuals and design specifications for equipment. Du-Rite agreed to pay a penalty of $650.
Emerald Cleaners, Jersey City, New Jersey. Emerald was cited for failure to store all perc and perc-containing wastes in proper solvent tanks or solvent containers with no perceptible leaks. Emerald agreed to pay a penalty of $200.
Phillip’s Cleaners, North Bergen, New Jersey. Phillip’s was cited for, among other things, failure to maintain a log of its perc purchases; failure to record leak inspections; and failure to keep a log of temperature monitoring for its equipment. Phillip’s Cleaners agreed to pay a penalty of $850.
R.E.M. Cleaners, Richmond Hill, New York. R.E.M. was cited for failure to monitor its refrigerator condenser sensor; failure to calculate the difference between entering and exiting vapors entering and exiting the condenser; failure to keep on-site receipts for perc purchases; failure to keep logs of perc purchases; failure to keep records of regular temperature readings for its refrigerator condenser; and failure to check weekly for leaks. R.E.M. agreed to pay a penalty of $3,800.
St. Johns Cleaners, Jersey City, New Jersey. St. Johns was cited for failure to show an inspector its perc purchase receipts; failure to keep a purchase log for perc; failure to keep a log of annual use of perc; failure to record temperatures of a refrigerator condenser; failure to conduct bi-weekly inspections for leaks; and failure to keep a log of the dates of leak inspections. St. Johns agreed to pay a penalty of $1,900.