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Frequently Asked Questions on Environmental Compliance for Dry Cleaners

If you operate a dry cleaner, DEQ asks a lot of you. There are requirements for how you run your machine, how you handle your wastes, and how solvent is delivered, among other things. This FAQ lists the main things but doesn’t include all the details, so contact the DEQ Dry Cleaner Program if you have additional questions.

​​Oregon dry cleaning law requires the use of certain types of dry cleaning equipment and specific waste management practices. These practices reduce air emissions from solvents, reduce the potential for spills and releases of solvents, protect groundwater, and promote more efficient use of dry cleaning solvent.

​Yes. You need to send in a Change of Dry Cleaning Activity form to the DEQ Dry Cleaner Program if you are:

  • Opening a new dry cleaner or dry store location
  • Closing a dry cleaner or dry store location
  • Moving the storefront to a new address
  • Buying or selling a dry cleaning business
  • Installing or removing a dry cleaning machine
  • Switching to a different dry cleaning solvent
  • Converting to a different type of business (from a dry cleaner to a dry store, from a dry store to a laundromat, etc)

There is no cost to submit the form. However, if you’re a perc dry cleaner, you also need to contact the DEQ Air Quality program and there may be a fee to make changes to your permit.

​Dry cleaners are required to install containment under and around equipment and machines that use, treat or store any dry cleaning solvent. This requirement provides extra protection to contain leaks and spills. Solvents can pool and leak into the ground underneath the dry cleaning facility, causing major environmental problems. 

​Dry cleaning machine wastewater can never be dumped on the ground or into a sewer, septic system or boiler. Here’s what you can do with it.

​Dry cleaners are required to report leaks and releases of more than one pound of dry cleaning solvent that occur outside of any containment pan. This fact sheet explains dry cleaner release reporting requirements.
Make sure you have this emergency phone number form posted on or near your dry cleaning machine.

​Oregon statute requires all perchloroethylene (perc) dry cleaning solvent to be delivered to dry cleaning facilities by means of closed, direct-coupled delivery systems. The purpose of this requirement is to reduce or eliminate accidental spills and releases of perc during delivery.

​Yes. Waste from perc dry cleaners is considered hazardous waste, and needs special treatment. ​The Clean Air Act requires the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to set standards to reduce hazardous air pollutant emissions from various businesses. ​These standards are called National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants or NESHAPs. Perchloroethylene (also known as "perc" or "PCE,") is one of those HAPs, and is one of the most widely used dry cleaning solvents in Oregon.

​​Newer, non-perc solvents are less toxic than perc, so except in rare cases the waste isn’t hazardous waste. Non-hazardous solid waste can be put in the trash, or your local government may have collection events where they would accept the waste. Contact DEQ if you have questions.

​DEQ inspectors use this checklist to evaluate environmental compliance at dry cleaners.

All dry cleaning operators and/or owners of dry cleaner businesses are required to report to DEQ regarding compliance with waste minimization and air quality requirements. Each year in December, DEQ sends reporting forms to be filled out by each dry cleaner and an air quality compliance calendar for the coming year.

Fact sheet: Annual Hazardous Waste and Air Quality Compliance Report
Korean version  |  Vietnamese version

Frequently asked questions for dry stores

​No, it doesn’t have to be. Dry cleaners and dry stores both have to pay a revenue fee (1% of their gross revenue from dry cleaning services). But, by law dry cleaners can exclude their revenue that comes in from dry stores, unless they also own that dry store.

​Yes. By law, dry stores in Oregon do have to pay fees and submit annual reports to the DEQ Dry Cleaner Program. In return, dry stores are included in the cleanup liability coverage offered by the Dry Cleaner Program. Many dry stores were formerly dry cleaners and may have contamination on site.

Frequently asked questions for property owners

​​Yes, if the site is eligible, and as funding is available, the dry cleaner program can pay for a cleanup. Contact us early, because cleanups can take a long time.

​Many dry cleaner property owners and business owners have Commercial General Liability (CGL) insurance. CGL policies issued before 1986 may cover investigation and cleanup costs- see DEQ’s cleanup insurance page for more information. If you submit a claim for a dry cleaner program-funded cleanup, you’ll be required to do an insurance search before work can start. DEQ can help. Even if you don’t plan to submit a claim, it’s a good idea to look for clues and records of any insurance you or previous owners may have had.

​Yes, but there is a limited time to apply.

Frequently asked questions for solvent suppliers

​By law, suppliers of dry cleaning solvent must pay the DEQ Dry Cleaner program a $10 fee per gallon of perchloroethylene (perc) solvent they sell in Oregon, and $2 per gallon of other solvent. This applies to both new and reclaimed solvent. Fee payments are due quarterly and should be mailed to DEQ with a completed fee return form. DEQ mails a set of fee return forms to solvent suppliers each December. If you’re a new solvent supplier or need a copy of the form, please email the Dry Cleaner Program. With the 4th quarter fee return, you’ll also need to send in a list of your solvent sales to each Oregon customer.
Here is a suggested format:
Dry Cleaner Name:___
Dry Cleaner Address​:___
Gallons of Perc Purchased during Calendar Year:___
Gallons of Other Dry Cleaning Solvent Purchased during Calendar Year:___​ 

​You must use closed, direct-coupled connectors when delivering perc to a customer’s dry cleaning machine.

Solvent supplier fee payments must be received in the DEQ office on the due dates listed above. A late fee of 10% of the unpaid amount applies on the due date, and again 1, 2, and 3 months later (see ORS 465.536).

​Solvent suppliers are required to submit fee payments quarterly, on the schedule shown below:
Reporting Period
Due Date
1st Quarter
Jan. 1 to March 31
April 20
2nd Quarter
April 1 to June 30
July 20
3rd Quarter
July 1 to Sept. 30
Oct. 20
4th Quarter
Oct. 1 to Dec. 31
Jan. 20 of the following year


Hazardous Waste Program
Ellie Brown , 503-229-6742

Air Quality Program 

Environmental Cleanup Program
Nancy Cardwell , 503-229-6240