Environmental Enlightenment #92
By Ami Adini - Reissued December 22, 2016

This is a SHORT, LIGHT and SIMPLE newsletter. Its purpose is to rekindle in the initiated terminology they have once learned, and enlighten the uninitiated on terms they may have heard but never known the meaning of.

Dry-cleaning Equipment & Dry-cleaning Operations

(The information in this newsletter has been gleaned from an EPA sponsored site http://www.drycleancoalition.org and enhanced with pictures obtained on the Web.)

Although much of the dry-cleaning solvent being used today is delivered via closed-loop systems, historically dry-cleaning solvent has been delivered in drums and by tank trucks.


Some dry-cleaning wholesale supply facilities receive solvent deliveries via railroad tank cars.

Numerous instances of solvent discharges, associated with these deliveries, have been documented including:

  • Discharge of solvent during transfer from railroad tank car

  • Discharge of solvent when delivery hose uncoupled from tank truck

  • Overfilling of solvent storage tanks

  • Discharge of solvent to facility floor or ground when delivery hose is reeled in

  • Discharge of solvent from drums dropped during delivery

  • Discharge of solvent when withdrawing solvent from an above-ground storage tank or transferring solvent to a dry-cleaning machine

  • Discharge of solvent while filling dry-cleaning machine and from overfilling machine

Due primarily to the industry conversion to more efficient dry-cleaning machines, PCE use by drycleaners in the United States has dramatically declined. A survey found that PCE use by drycleaners in the United States in 2001 was 52 million pounds compared to 260 million pounds used in 1985.

Since today's generation dry-cleaning machines are more efficient, they use much less solvent and therefore, much less solvent is stored at dry-cleaning facilities.

Most facilities store dry-cleaning solvent in the tanks located at the base of the dry-cleaning machine.

In the past, additional solvent was often stored in tanks, primarily aboveground storage tanks (ASTs) for PCE and both aboveground and underground storage tanks (USTs) for petroleum solvents. There have been solvent discharges associated with these storage tanks from leaks (valves, flowlines and tanks) and from spills (during both tank filling and solvent withdrawal).

A study of reported solvent leaks, spills and discharges at 334 dry-cleaning facilities and 14 dry-cleaning wholesale supply facilities located in Florida found that the largest average solvent spill volumes were associated with solvent transfer and storage.

Approximately 20.9% of the solvent and solvent-contaminated waste discharges reported in the Florida study were due to equipment operation problems including still boil-overs, clothing caught in the machine door, loose cartridge filter housings, overflow of water separator, and open valves.

The largest number of reported spills/discharges (39.2%) were associated with equipment failure, including leaking gaskets, seals, valves, ruptured hoses, failed couplings, and equipment corrosion


The Florida study found that 13.8% of the reported solvent/solvent waste discharges were associated with dry-cleaning machine/equipment maintenance. This includes spills associated with filter changes, still cleanouts, servicing of the solvent pump and button trap cleanouts.

You can find past issues of "Environmental Enlightenment" at www.amiadini.com Wealth of information about environmental site assessments in the real estate transactions and issues concerning assessment and cleanup of contamination in the subsurface soil and groundwater.

Call me if you have any questions. There are no obligations.

Ami Adini Environmental Services, Inc.
Environmental Engineering Consultants & Contractors
Underground Storage Tank Experts
California Lic. #1009513 A B HAZ ASB
818-824-8102; mail@amiadini.com
www.amiadini.com

Ami Adini is a mechanical engineer, California Registered Environmental Assessor, Level II (Exp.), and president of AMI ADINI ENVIRONMENTAL SERVICES, INC. (AAES), an environmental engineering consulting firm and general contractors specializing in all phases of environmental site assessments, rehabilitation of contaminated sites and upgrading of underground storage tank facilities. AAES provides practical solutions to environmental concerns using the highest standards of ethics and integrity while providing its clients with maximum return on their investments.