Ladies, Keep Your Eye On Your Mister

And Other Separator Water Issues

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

Cleaning and purifying dry cleaning solvents for reuse has been around since the beginning of the dry cleaning industry.  Historically, solvents were considered inexpensive, so the degree to which they were reclaimed was considerably less than it is today.  The rule of thumb used to be a 1 to 5 loss/recovery ratio.  That means that 1 part solvent was lost for every 5 parts recycled.  Today that ratio is much, much lower with some dry cleaners telling me they lose only 1 part of perchlorotheylene (perc) for every 20 parts recycled. 

While the dry cleaning machines, now in what’s considered their 5th and 6th generation, are much better designed and considered safer for the environment, the management of separator water continues to pose environmental concerns.  Separator water is generated during the distillation and solvent recovery process.  Vapors from the distillation process are condensed into a mixture of solvent and water.  The solvent is typically recoverd from the mixture by gravity in the water separator.  The remaining water in the separator has dissolved solvents in it and if the solvent being used is perc, the separator water will more likely than not be considered a hazardous waste. Continue reading “Ladies, Keep Your Eye On Your Mister”

Vapor Intrusion is on the Rise!

Written by Steve Henshaw, President and CEO of EnviroForensics.

As seen in the July 2009 Issue of Western Cleaner & Launderer.

PDF Version

Last month the California Environmental Protection Agency (Cal/EPA) hosted two Vapor Intrusion Workshops.  While we recognize that not all of the readers care about more strict California regulations being handed out, in the environmental world regulations and technology coming from California usually creeps across the country to other states like ivy on a tree.  The workshops were held for Cal/EPA staff and other stakeholders, which were predominately environmental consultants.  John Bird, Vice President of EnviroForensics’, and one of the foremost leaders on vapor intrusion issues with over 12 years of hands on experience, was there to report on pending issues and new developments.  Not so ironically, out of the seven (7) projects that were presented by Cal/EPA during the workshops, two (2) were projects that John served as lead scientist. Continue reading “Vapor Intrusion is on the Rise!”

Camp Lejeune

Written by John C Bird, P.G., Vice President, EnviroForensics

Over twenty years, the contaminated water supply at Camp Lejeune has been a hot topic. From 1957 to 1987, more than 75,000 Marines and their families were allegedly exposed to tap water contaminated with the toxic chemicals trichloroethylene (TCE) and tetrachloroethylene (PCE).

In 1984, the results of a laboratory analysis of drinking water indicated a concentration of 1,400 parts per billion (ppb) of TCE collected from a supply well on base. The federal government eventually set a maximum safe level for TCE in drinking water at 5 ppb. Continue reading “Camp Lejeune”

Sometimes It’s Not Only the Cost of the Cleanup

Written by John C Bird, P.G. Vice President of EnviroForensics

In Las Vegas, NV this week, the State of Nevada filed suit against the property owners and business operators of long-time dry cleaner for allegedly contaminating the State’s groundwater.  According the State’s lawsuit, the dry cleaner has impacted groundwater beneath the site and the contaminant plume has spread more than 4,000 feet underneath several residential neighborhoods and past the Las Vegas National Golf Course property.  According to the State’s webpage regarding this dry cleaner, the discovery of a discharge of tetrachloroethylene (PCE) was first reported on November 29, 2000 via State’s spill-reporting hotline. The release was discovered during a routine environmental site assessment performed as part of a property transaction.  According to the latest groundwater investigation report, PCE was present in all but two of the wells sampled with concentrations ranging from 2.0 parts per billion (ppb) to 2,600 ppb.   Safe drinking-water levels are considered to be less than 5.0 ppb for PCE. Continue reading “Sometimes It’s Not Only the Cost of the Cleanup”