News for Drycleaners Concerning BAAQMD

Submitted by Marti Russell, REA-1, Registered Environmental Assessor and Western Sales Manager for EnviroForensics

As it stands now, Bay Area Air Quality Management District (BAAQMD) in Northern California may be changing their regulations…again.  AND, things do not look so good for dry cleaners in that District.

BAAQMD staff will go in front of the Stationary Steering Committee on Monday, November 16, 2009 to discuss the social economic impact the current State’s Air Toxic Control Measure (ATCM) regulation is having on the Dry Cleaning Industry. Everyone should be aware by now, that it is extremely tough out there for businesses to survive.  Some businesses are down by 30%, banks are not lending money for equipment upgrades and credit scores need to be over 680 to qualify for loans or leases.

However, more important than the Steering Committee meeting, is the one that will be held on December 16, 2009. BAAQMD staffers go in front of their boss, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors (BOS), to address the directive that the Board gave them last year.  This meeting will be open for public comments.

The directive given to BAAQMD by the BOS was to shorten up the time span between the California Air Resource Board’s (CARB) Air Toxic Control Measure (ATCM) for perc users and the year 2023, the date set by the State of California in banning perc completely throughout the entire State.

So far, this is what the BAAQMD will introduce to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors in December:

  1. BAAQMD staff will recommend to the BOS letting a portion of the original ATCM stand.  Meaning: keeping the July 1, 2010 date; to stop operating all perc units that are15 years or older.
  2. BAAQMD staff will recommend to the BOS that BAAQMD cleaners stop operating perc units which are 12 years old or older by July 1, 2011.
  3. BAAQMD staff will recommend to the BOS that after July 1, 2011, any perc unit reaching 12 years old will have to stop being operated.

The BAAQMD’s original discussion of stopping the use of machines after 10 or 8 years will be addressed, but will not recommend to the BOS; sighting reasons of our current economic situation, that most cleaners find themselves in, and having no real borrowing power with banks to upgrade equipment.

Ideally, when perc units have reached their full operating years, those units need to be completely drained of perc, stripped of the hazardous cartridges and removed from the Cleaners’ premise.