Hazards and Cleanup

As part of the 1995 legislation, the dry cleaning industry committed to becoming a zero release industry. To meet this commitment dry cleaners must:

  • Use only acceptable types of dry cleaning equipment (see below).
  • Manage dry cleaning waste as hazardous waste.
  • Manage solvent-contaminated wastewater according to state rules. Do not discharge solvent-contaminated wastewater to a sanitary sewer, septic system, boiler, on the ground, or to waters of the state.
  • Provide containment under and around dry cleaning equipment and solvent-containing items (dry cleaning machine, hazardous waste containers, wastewater treatment units, wastewater collection buckets).
  • Submit annual reporting of waste minimization and hazardous waste management practices.
  • Report releases of dry cleaning solvent.
  • Use only closed, direct-coupled delivery systems for delivering perchloroethylene solvent (perc).
  • Meet air quality monitoring and recordkeeping requirements for perc dry cleaners.

Compliance with these requirements is necessary for a dry cleaning facility to be eligible to be cleaned up using funding from the Dry Cleaner Environmental Response Account.

Acceptable Types of Dry Cleaning Equipment

Dry cleaning facilities in Oregon must use the following types of dry cleaning equipment:

  • A dry cleaning facility may not include operation of transfer-type dry cleaning equipment using perchloroethylene.
  • All newly installed dry cleaning equipment using perchloroethylene shall be of the dry-to-dry type and be equipped with integral refrigerated condensers with an outlet temperature sensor for the control of perchloroethylene emissions.
  • All existing dry cleaning equipment using perchloroethylene shall install and use refrigerated condensers.
  • Any dry cleaning facility that converts and operates as a dry store must have solvent and solvent-containing waste removed from a dry cleaning machine on the premise. In addition, the dry cleaning machine must not be connected to any utilities (electricity, steam).
  • A dry cleaning facility that ceases operation for 45 continuous days must have solvent and solvent-containing waste removed from the dry cleaning machine prior to the machine being disposed, recycled or reused.

Hazardous Waste Management

According to Oregon law, all waste (excluding wastewater) generated at a dry cleaning facility that contains perc is a hazardous waste. This includes, but is not limited to, sludge, filters, lint, button trap cleanout and solvent containing wastewater. Dry cleaner wastes containing perc are “listed” hazardous wastes.

Dry Cleaners who use other types of dry cleaning solvent may or may not have hazardous waste and must evaluated these wastes for hazardous characteristics that can make them hazardous waste.

For more information: Dry Cleaners Hazardous Waste Management fact sheet

Wastewater Management

The law prohibits the discharge of solvent-contaminated wastewater from dry cleaning machines to any sanitary sewer, septic system, and boiler or state waters.

Dry cleaners can either drum up their wastewater and ship it off-site as a hazardous waste, or properly treat it onsite according to State rules, at their dry cleaning facility. Onsite wastewater treatment has specific equipment requirements dry cleaners must meet.

For more information: Wastewater Management fact sheet

Containment Under and Around Dry Cleaning Systems

Containment pans must be installed under and around equipment and machines that use, treat, or store ANY dry cleaning solvent. Specific materials and volume capacity are called for in the dry cleaner rules. Containment pans must be under the dry cleaning machine, wastewater treatment unit, hazardous waste container, and any solvent stored onsite. This requirement provides extra protection to contain leaks and spills.

For more information: Containment Under and Around Dry Cleaning Systems fact sheet

Annual Hazardous Waste and Air Compliance Report

Dry cleaners and dry stores are required to report annually to the DEQ. Every year dry cleaners and dry stores receive a reporting packet from the DEQ and the Department of Revenue requesting information on implementation and compliance with the law. Some of the topics covered are:

  • Ownership or change of ownership of the dry cleaning business;
  • Ownership of property;
  • Whether dry cleaning is actually being conducted at their given location;
  • Type of solvent used;
  • Amount of solvent purchased in the year;
  • Spills reported;
  • Type of dry cleaning equipment operated;
  • How hazardous wastes were managed and where they were shipped; and
  • Leak detection and leak repair to the dry cleaning machine.

In September 1993, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency issued national regulations to control air emissions of perc from dry cleaners. DEQ has adopted these standards and is the primary implementing agency for these standards. The regulation requires dry cleaners to keep records to demonstrate compliance with the standards. DEQ incorporates reporting of these records as part of the Dry Cleaner Annual Report.

For more information: Annual Hazardous Waste and Air Quality Compliance Report fact sheet.

Reporting Releases of Dry Cleaner Solvent

Dry Cleaners are required to report spills, leaks, or releases, of more than one pound of dry cleaning solvent (about one cup of perc) that occur outside of their containment pans to the Oregon Emergency Response System at 1-800-452-0311.

Releases that occur within containment pans do not need to be reported provided they are:

  • Fully contained in the containment pan,
  • Cleaned up immediately, and
  • The cause of the spill is immediately repaired.

For more information on reporting spills: Reporting Releases of Dry Cleaning Solvent fact sheet

Delivery of Perchloroethylene Dry Cleaning Solvent

Requirements for the delivery of dry cleaning solvent apply only to perc. Delivery of other solvents does not have to comply with these requirements.

All perc must be delivered to the dry cleaning facility and dry cleaning machine using a closed, direct-coupled delivery system. It is the responsibility of the dry cleaning operator to install closed, self-sealing couplings at the solvent input and air vent points, on all dry cleaning machines in the facility.

It is the responsibility of the solvent supplier to deliver solvent to the dry cleaning facility in containers that are fitted with closed, self-sealing couplings for the solvent input line and the air capture line. This measure reduces perc air emissions and the likelihood of solvent releases.

For more information on the delivery of perc: Delivery of Perchloroethylene Solvent fact sheet

Air Quality Monitoring and Record Keeping Requirements

While the following requirement is not called for by the Oregon Dry cleaner law it is required by federal air quality regulations and is included here to give a complete picture of what requirements dry cleaners must comply with.

Perc is released into the air from dry cleaning machine vents and from “fugitive” emissions. Fugitive emissions occur when the machine doors are opened to remove clothing, when you clean filters, and any time the machine is left open. They can also occur because of equipment leaks.

All perc dry cleaners must keep records of their monitoring activities for leak detection and repairs, refrigerated condenser temperature, and monthly perc purchases. DEQ provides Oregon dry cleaners with a calendar to assist with specific monitoring and recordkeeping requirements, such as:

  • Date and amount of perc purchases;
  • Weekly refrigerated condenser outlet temperature log (temp must be less than or equal to 45 F at the end of the cool down cycle); and
  • Weekly or bi-weekly leak detection inspection log (depending on how much perc is used per year), including a log for tracking leak repair activities.

For more information about specific air quality requirements: Air Quality Requirements for Perc Dry Cleaners