The 2008 National Perchloroethylene Air Emission Standards for Dry-Cleaning Facilities requires a phase-out of perchloroethylene (PERC) dry cleaning machines co-located with residential buildings by December 21, 2020. Accordingly, the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) has advised that existing permits for co-residential dry cleaners will automatically be terminated after December 21, 2020. In addition, PERC dry cleaners operating in co-residential locations after December 21, 2020, will be in violation of the federal rule and will be subject to penalty assessments and fines.

PERC Phase-Out

Even though PERC has been used by dry cleaners for decades as the solvent of choice, exposure to PERC can impact workers, nearby residents and the environment when released to air, water, land or groundwater. In addition, PERC and trichloroethylene (TCE) used in textile cleaning are both listed as hazardous waste under the federal Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA).

Based on the potential health and environmental risks, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) revised certain requirements for PERC dry cleaners in 2008. In addition to requiring a phase-out of PERC machines co-located with residential buildings by 2020, the National Perchloroethylene Air Emission Standards for Dry-Cleaning Facilities also requires all dry cleaners to implement controls on PERC emissions. As detailed by the EPA, the rule requires:

  • Elimination of transfer machines;
  • Use of leak detection equipment;
  • Leak repair;
  • Record-keeping; and
  • For dry cleaners installed on or after December 9, 1991, use of carbon absorbers and refrigerated condensers.

Next Steps

If you are operating a PERC dry cleaner at a co-residential location, by December 21, 2020, the PERC and any PERC-contaminated waste must be removed from the machine and disposed of properly. In addition, the PERC machine must be fully disconnected or removed by that date.

Going forward, dry cleaners must switch to alternative cleaning methods, such as wet cleaning, carbon dioxide, or hydrocarbon technology. Alternatively, co-residential PERC cleaners may also elect to relocate the PERC dry cleaning machines to another facility that is not attached to any residential building.

If you have questions, please contact us

If you have any questions or if you would like to discuss the matter further, please contact me, Dan McKillop, or the Scarinci Hollenbeck attorney with whom you work, at 201-806-3364.