NEW YORK — The National Cleaners Association (NCA) reports that on March 10, 2018, New York State’s Department of Environmental Conservation (NYS DEC) proposed revisions to their Part 232 perc dry cleaning rule, was adopted.
The revised rule has been retitled Part 232 for Dry Cleaning Facilities reflecting the fact that this revision has expanded the scope of the regulation to impose requirements on users of alternative solvents as well as perchloroethylene (perc).
Over the past two years, NCA notes, it has worked tirelessly with both NY state legislators and DEC staff to ensure the revised regulation reflected the 20 years worth of positive data accumulated based on the registered compliance inspections all perc dry cleaners conducted annually.
The independent inspection data demonstrated that perc was being used by cleaners in a safe and responsible manner, the NCA says.
Based on this and other data, the NCA reports, NYS DEC and the executive branch of the New York state’s government kept perchloroethylene on the New York list of approved drycleaning solvents.
These engineers’ reports showed that perc was at ND (non-detectible) levels in more than half the facilities statewide and most other were below five parts per million (PPM), it reports.
Most requirements for perc operation remain the same — weekly leak inspections, operator certification training and testing, annual registered compliance inspections, and posting notice in call office.
However, a self-drum testing requirement was added for facilities located in strip centers /commercial and residential mixed use buildings. The phase out on pre-existing residential perc operations effective 2020 (a Federal EPA NESHAP mandate) remains in effect, NCA writes.
In addition, the NCA further reports, DEC has regulated the use of alternative solvents. Among other things, the revision calls for a list of approved alternative solvents, specifies engineering parameters for new alternative solvent machinery, sets forth operational and maintenance guidance (with some record keeping requirements), and technical equipment training by qualified representatives at installation.
Alternative solvent users are also being required to post a notice in the call office advising customers of what the primary solvents are used by the facility.
Some record keeping is a requirement for both perc and alternative solvent users, with alternative solvents having a significantly lesser burden.
The continued listing of perc as an approved solvent, also speaks well for the future of the alternatives, says Nora Nealis, NCA executive director: “By demonstrating that dry cleaners can use perc safely, we have proven that we know how to be good, responsible environmental stewards and can be trusted to handle even listed hazardous substances safely.”
A copy of the revised Part 232 Dry Cleaning Facilities regulation is available online at the NCA.