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You are here: EPA Home » DfE » Part 1: Statement of Goals, Guide Overview, and Summary of Perc Waste Sources

Part 1: Statement of Goals, Guide Overview, and Summary of Perc Waste Sources

Section A: Statement of Goals
The Plain English Guide for Perc Dry Cleaners was developed to assist owners and operators of perchloroethylene (perc) dry cleaning facilities in understanding and complying with federal air, hazardous waste, and wastewater regulations. Your state or local government may have additional requirements. EPA regional office air/small business coordinators are listed in Appendix A to help identify your state and local contacts.

Section B: Guide Overview

Part I describes the statement of goals, guide overview, and the hazards associated with the use of perc. It also summarizes the various sources of perc waste that are produced during the dry cleaning process. Part II is a "step-by-step" approach to how dry cleaners comply with the regulations. Section II-A summarizes all the requirements and recommended actions that are discussed in this part. Section II-B is a simplified version of the federal environmental regulations that apply to perc dry cleaning facilities.
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Section II-C
describes the guidelines and procedures for preparing your dry cleaning shop to make sure you comply with federal environmental regulations. Section II-D describes how to properly operate your machines and shop to stay in compliance. Remember that your state's requirements may be stricter than the federal requirements, so always check with your state agency. Part III lists typical questions that an inspector may ask while visiting your perc dry cleaning facility. Appendix A lists EPA regional office dry cleaning air coordinators and small business contacts. Appendix B contains the following forms used for compliance with federal air regulations:
  • Initial Notification Report
  • Compliance Report for Pollution Prevention
  • Compliance Report for Control Requirements (necessary where compliance with an emission control device is required).
    These completed forms must be submitted to the appropriate EPA regional coordinator in Appendix A.

Section C: Types and Sources of Perc Wastes
It is important for you to know the hazards associated with the use of liquid perchloroethylene (perc), and the kinds and sources of perc wastes that are produced by the dry cleaning process. Although perc is the most common cleaning solvent used in the dry cleaning industry, it is also suspected of causing cancer and has been found to be moderately toxic to people. It is classified as a pollutant in both air and water regulations. Its disposal is regulated as a hazardous waste.

Air Emissions

The two largest potential sources of air emissions from the dry cleaning industry are the release of perc vapors into the atmosphere during transfer of clothes from the washer to the dryer and the venting of the dryer exhaust airstream. To eliminate these sources of air pollution, EPA regulations are phasing out the use of transfer machines and phasing in requirements on the installation of control devices for dryer exhaust airstreams.

Hazardous Waste

Dry cleaning facilities typically generate wastes in the form of cooked powder residues, still bottom residues, spent cartridges, and button/lint trap wastes. These wastes are perc-based and have an EPA Hazardous Waste Number of F002. Dry cleaners may also occasionally dispose of unused perc and these wastes have a Hazardous Waste Number of U210. The EPA Hazardous Waste Number is needed when filling out the Notification of Hazardous Waste Activity form (Figure II-1, page II-24) when obtaining an EPA Identification Number for generating hazardous waste. It is also needed when filling out the Uniform Hazardous Waste Manifest (Figure II-6, page II-41). This Manifest must accompany each hazardous waste shipment to ensure the hazardous waste arrives at its final destination.


The only source of process wastewater that would be of general concern to a dry cleaner is separater water, since it contains perc. Separater water can be disposed of as a hazardous waste or treated in a mister or an evaporator. Disposal of untreated separater water into on-site disposal systems such as dry wells, cesspools, and septic tanks is prohibited. Disposal into a municipal sewer system is subject to state and local Publicly Owned Treatment Works (POTW) requirements.

[PDF] PLEASE NOTE: Some of the documents mentioned in this Section are in Adobe's Portable Document Format (PDF). To view or print them you will need to have the Adobe Acrobat Reader program installed on your computer. The Reader can be downloaded and used with no charge; check here for more information on the Adobe Acrobat Reader.

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