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Water-Related News

Support urged for dry cleaning contamination sites program that saw sharp budget cuts

By Bruce Ritchie

Some speciality cleanup contractors are asking legislators to restore funding for a Department of Environmental Protection program that helps pay for cleaning up dry cleaner contamination sites.

Dry cleaners typically use a solvent called perchloroethylene to remove stains from garments. Perchloroethylene, which can increase the risk of cancer for those working around the chemical, is considered a hazardous waste and has been found at dry cleaner sites, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

The Legislature in 1994 established the Dry-cleaning Solvent Cleanup Program at DEP for cleaning up sites and groundwater. The department says 139 sites have been cleaned up. Another 1,284 are eligible under the program with work underway at 192.