Dirty Cleaners - The Painful Irony

Dirty Cleaners - The Painful Irony

Managing the Environmental Risks of Dry Cleaning Sites
Drycleaners have polluted the groundwater at tens of thousands of locations throughout the U.S. Starting in the 1950's, the use of perchloroethene or "perc" at cleaners ushered in what seemed to be a better alternative to the use of kerosene, benzene, and carbon tetrachloride.  What we have learned since then is that perc, although a great cleaning solvent, is carcinogenic and very mobile in the soil and groundwater.  Because perc does not easily degrade underground and it is much heavier than water, it tends to form very deep and long plumes of contamination that often extend a mile or more in length.  This means that remediating the affected groundwater is extremely expensive and technically difficult or practically impossible.  Cleanup costs of ground water contaminated with perc often exceed $1,000,000. Enough of the bad news.  The good news is that new regulations, containment requirements, and alternative earth-friendly chemicals are stemming the tide of drycleaning facilities that are contaminating properties.  Most states now have drycleaner trust funds to ensure that the worst sites are remeditated to protect human health and the environment.  In the State of South Carolina alone, the Drycleaning Trust Fund has provided financial assistance to over 400 facilities.  South Carolina's program is funded by a combination of registration fees, sales tax, and a $10 per gallon tax on perc, generating approximately $1,000,000 per year.  But because the estimated liabilities in South Carolina alone are nearly $90,000,000, don't assume that the Fund will be there to clean up you property any time soon. To avoid becoming responsible for a drycleaning contamination plume, liable for the 25,000 fund deductible, or worse, finding that your site does not qualify for Trust Fund dollars, it is critical that property investors perform a Phase l Environmental Site Assessment to determine the property's history.  Where inadequate information is available, Phase ll sampling of soil and groundwater may also be merited. An estimated 90% or more of drycleaners that have been in operation since the 1980's are contaminated. Therefore, tread carefully into these purchases.  EnviroSouth's team of environmental professionals can assist you in avoiding these drycleaner minefields and provide you peace of mind that your investment will not have an unpleasant surprise waiting for you underground.  

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You may contact Tom directly at 864-236-9010 or tdonn@envirosouth.com.

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Making Green from "Brown(fields)"
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