Can PERC Releases Be Age Dated and Fingerprinted?

Written by Stephen Henshaw, P.G., President and CEO, EnviroForensics
As seen in the May 2010 issue of Cleaner & Launderer

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For years parties responsible for the costs associated with environmental investigations and cleanups of Perc contamination have been trying to determine when Perc releases have occurred.  This topic has important ramifications when sites have had a series of dry cleaning operations over time, when different insurance carriers insured dry cleaners and property owners, and when several dry cleaning releases have comingled together from different dry cleaning locations.

So, for the past 15 to 20 years, scientists like Dr. Konrad Banaszak with EnviroForensics, have been trying to figure out how to age date PERC releases.  So, can Perc releases be accurately age dated?  The answer is yes, no and maybe.  Continue reading “Can PERC Releases Be Age Dated and Fingerprinted?”

The Road Goes on Forever and the Trial Never Ends

Written by John C. Bird, P.G., Vice President of EnviroForensics
As seen in the June 2009 issue of Western Cleaner & Launderer

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On Monday this week, May 18 th a State Court jury awarded $18.3 million to the City of Modesto in their 11 year old lawsuit against dry cleaning chemical manufactures, suppliers and equipment manufactures. The City of Modesto had sued Dow Chemical, PPG Industries, Goss-Jewett, R.R. Street & Co. and others for a threat of groundwater contamination at four dry cleaner sites in the City of Modesto. According to the City of Modesto, several municipal supply wells had been impacted with perchloroethylene (PCE), a chemical widely used by the dry cleaning industry. The City alleged back in 1998, among other things, that the defendants made a defective product and they failed to warn the dry cleaners about the threat to groundwater from letting PCE discharge into the City’s sewer system. The jury trail lasted 5 months and is apparently not over yet. Both sides in the case do not appear to be completely happy with the jury’s decision. Continue reading “The Road Goes on Forever and the Trial Never Ends”

Environmental Corner

Written by Steve Henshaw, P.G., President and CEO, EnviroForensics
As seen in the October 2008 issue of Western Cleaner & Launderer

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Over the past few years, Randy Wendt, the editor of Western Cleaners and Launderers, and I have talked about various environmental issues that threaten the financial viability of operating a dry cleaning business.  Last month Randy asked if I would be willing to prepare periodic articles for this publication focusing on educating dry cleaners about these various issues.  As a staunch supporter of the dry cleaner industry, I am pleased to share my experiences and thoughts with readers, in an effort to demystify the topic of environmental contamination, the process of site investigations, describe different remedial alternatives, and provide insight on ways to protect you from this long tail liability.  I welcome your feedback and topic requests. Continue reading “Environmental Corner”

Insurance Archaeology – What is it and Why is it Beneficial?

Published in Fabricare The Magazine of Drycleaning & Laundry Institute Sep/Oct 2008

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Insurance archeology is the process of location and finding historical insurance policies that covered individuals and businesses. Historical insurance can be a huge benefit to drycleaners, as old policies can be used to pay for costs associated with soil and groundwater contamination investigations, legal representation, and even the cleanup of contaminated sits. Continue reading “Insurance Archaeology – What is it and Why is it Beneficial?”

Dry Cleaners Find Toxins on Property

Written By Mercedes Rodriguez
As Published in The Herald-Times July 13, 2008

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Steve Arthur, owner of Bloomington Cleaners, recently had his business crawling with tiny backhoes and excavators, with workmen tearing up the concrete, all to remove a dangerous chemical from the property.

Arthur closed up the dry cleaning business he has owned since 1992 the week of June 30, and had 120 tons of soil contaminated by perchloroethylene—known as perc—trucked away. “Part of it was being a good citizen, and part of it is protecting the value of the property,” Arthur said.

The building on West 17th Street has been a dry cleaners for more than 35 years, Arthur said, and years ago some dry cleaning chemicals could have leaked from old machinery or been spilled. Continue reading “Dry Cleaners Find Toxins on Property”