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EPA says cleanup complete at Fargo dry cleaner site

Release Date: 02/22/2006
Contact Information: Joyce Ackerman, (303) 312-6822,

(Denver, Colo. - Feb. 22, 2006) The Environmental Protection Agency announced today that the cleanup at the Camelot Cleaners site at 602 Sheyenne Street in West Fargo is complete.

      Soils and shallow groundwater at the former dry cleaning site were contaminated with perchloroethylene (PCE), a solvent commonly used in the dry cleaning business. PCE was found 44 feet below the ground surface and was a threat to West Fargo's drinking water. Long-term exposure to the chemical can cause liver and kidney damage.

      EPA contracted with Current Environmental Solutions to clean up the property. They used electric resistance heating, a process that uses heat to turn the solvents into vapors. An underground piping system then carried the vapors to a treatment unit where filters removed the solvents. CES reported that more than 5,000 pounds of PCE and its breakdown products were removed from the soil and shallow groundwater.

      The cost of the cleanup, which began in February 2005, is slightly less than $3 million, including the cost of restoring the site for future development. EPA paid the cleanup costs, but National Dry Cleaners, one of the former operators, is making payments to reimburse some of the expense. EPA is evaluating the potential liability of the owner of the site, John Woodhams, who also operated a dry cleaning business there.

      The treatment equipment still at the site will be removed and the building will be dismantled beginning in March.