Air Pollution Control Program

Dry Cleaners

Dry cleaning businesses may use a variety of cleaning methods, all of which are subject to environmental regulations. Many dry cleaning businesses use a solvent called perchloroethylene, or perc. Perc is a hazardous air pollutant, or HAP.  Perc, like other dry cleaning methods, can cause health problems.  Alternatives to perc are silicone-based solvents, petroleum-based solvents, wet cleaning, and the use of carbon dioxide in the cleaning process.  These processes are outlined below:

Perc Alternatives

 

Damage or wear
on garments

Environmental characteristics Safety characteristics
Silicone-based solvent Light to moderate wear Appears environmentally safe Has not been tested for health effects over long time span
Petroleum-based solvent Light to moderate wear Less toxic than perc May be a fire hazard
Wet cleaning Moderate to severe wear Large amounts of contaminated water Less safety hazards than perc
Carbon dioxide Light wear Non-toxic High pressure operation

Perc dry cleaners are regulated to minimize the amount of solvent released in the air and for proper disposal of waste. If enough solvent is used, petroleum-based dry cleaners may be regulated for air emissions and for proper disposal of waste. Wet cleaning may be regulated due to the large quantity of water used and disposed of. All processes may be regulated if they send pollutants down the drain.

Primary environmental regulations are listed below based on the type of dry cleaning operation. This is not a complete list of possible regulations. It is the facility’s responsibility to know and meet all regulatory requirements.

Perc dry cleaners

Perc dry cleaners are regulated by both the Hazardous Waste Program and the Air Pollution Control Program

Air Pollution

Perc dry cleaners are required to have certain types of equipment, check for leaks and keep the equipment running properly and record their maintenance activities. Though it is rare, a perc dry cleaner may need a permit if they generate enough air pollution. All perc dry cleaners must read, follow, sign and submit the Dry Cleaner Notification of Compliance Status, Form--MO 780-1987 to show they are complying with air regulations.

Various groups have written publications and provided ways to document the requirements.

Federal air pollution regulation for perc dry cleaning (40 CFR 63 subpart M)

EPA Rule and Implementation website for perc dry cleaners

Region 7 Contacts

Helpful Links

Dry Cleaner Notification of Compliance Status, Form--MO 780-1987

Dry Cleaner Calendar

Korean Dry Cleaner Calendar (Pennsylvania)

Amended EPA Regulations for Perchloroethylene Dry Cleaners

Korean Amended EPA Regulations for Perchloroethylene Dry Cleaners

Dry Cleaners and The Clean Air Act, Fact Sheet--PUB2201

Hazardous Waste

Perc dry cleaners must register with the Dry Cleaning Environmental Response Trust, or DERT, fund. As part of that fund, an annual operations report and fee are required.

Because perc-containing wastes are generally considered hazardous waste, other hazardous waste regulations may apply based on the amount of waste produced.  The Hazardous Waste Program also has several publications that might be useful. 

Drycleaning Environmental Response Trust (DERT) Fund Annual Program Report 2012, Booklet--PUB2262

Drycleaning Environmental Response Trust (DERT) Fund Claim Kit, Fact Sheet--PUB2135

Drycleaning Environmental Response Trust (DERT) Fund Frequently Asked Questions, Fact Sheet--PUB2186 

Drycleaning Environmental Response Trust (DERT) Fund - Frequently Asked Questions about Registration, Fact Sheet--PUB2137

Drycleaning Environmental Response Trust (DERT) Fund - Frequently Asked Questions about Remediation, Fact Sheet--PUB2136

Hazardous Waste Generator Status Guidance, Fact Sheet--PUB2224

Solvent-Contaminated Rags, Fact Sheet--PUB146

Transactions of Properties with Active or Abandoned Dry Cleaning Facilities, Fact Sheet--PUB2134 

Water pollution

If you are not on a sewer, do not send anything down the drain except “domestic wastewater” or wastewater similar to what you would have at home.  If you are on a sewer system, contact your local sewer system to see what they will allow you to send down the drain.

Backflow Prevention: Frequently Asked Questions, Fact Sheet--PUB2158

Basics of Backflow Prevention, MO Regulation 10 CSR 60-11.010, Brochure--PUB393

Petroleum based solvent dry cleaners

Air Pollution

Federal regulation 40 CFR 60 subpart JJJ regulates facilities with total dryer capacity greater than 84 pounds where the equipment was constructed or modified after Dec. 14,1982. 

40 CFR 60 subpart JJJ

Requirements

Region 7 Contacts

Hazardous Waste

Because some solvent-containing wastes are considered hazardous wastes, each petroleum-based dry cleaner will need to determine their status.

Solvent-Contaminated Rags, Fact Sheet--PUB146

Hazardous Waste Generator Status Guidance, Fact Sheet--PUB2224

Water pollution

If you are not on a sewer, do not send anything down the drain except “domestic wastewater” or wastewater similar to what you would have at home.  If you are on a sewer system, contact your local sewer system to see what they will allow you to send down the drain.

Backflow Prevention: Frequently Asked Questions, Fact Sheet--PUB2158

Basics of Backflow Prevention, MO Regulation 10 CSR 60-11.010, Brochure--PUB393

Silicone-based solvent, Wet cleaning, and Carbon dioxide

Air Pollution

These dry cleaner types do not have air pollution issues at this time.

Hazardous Waste

Some spot cleaners and maintenance items may be considered hazardous waste. The facility will need to determine their hazardous waste status and handle the wastes properly. 

Hazardous Waste Generator Status Guidance, Fact Sheet--PUB2224

Water pollution

If you are not on a sewer, do not send anything down the drain except “domestic wastewater” or wastewater similar to what you would have at home.  If you are on a sewer system, contact your local sewer system to see what they will allow you to send down the drain.

Backflow Prevention: Frequently Asked Questions, Fact Sheet--PUB2158

Basics of Backflow Prevention, MO Regulation 10 CSR 60-11.010, Brochure--PUB393