In Situ Bio-Remediation of Perc From Syrup to Cheese Whey

Written By Steve Henshaw, P.G., President & CEO of EnviroForensics
As seen in the August 2009 issue of Western Cleaner & Launderer

PDF Version

For years, environmental scientists and engineers have been promoting the notion of using microorganisms to degrade chlorinated volatile organic compounds (e.g. Perc and associated breakdown products) and petroleum hydrocarbons (e.g. gas, diesel, oil, etc.)  This technology falls under a general term called bio-remediation.  One may recall video of the Valdez oil spill in Alaska, when cleanup crews sprayed microorganisms onto the oil laden shoreline.  The idea was that the microorganisms would literally consume the oil as their food source.  This same phenomenon has been observed in aquifers contaminated with gasoline and oil, whereby the leading edge of the contamination plume is often consumed by naturally occurring microorganisms, while the center of the contamination plume does not have sufficient oxygen for the microorganisms to grow.  The breakdown of petroleum hydrocarbons can be summed up as needing an oxygen rich environment, also known as an aerobic environment, where oxygen is needed to aid in the consumption of the petroleum hydrocarbons.  The result is that gasoline and diesel contaminated plumes are relatively small in length.  As the concentration of gasoline and diesel compounds decrease from the source area, the amount of oxygen increases and the bugs population, in turn, adjusts to the lower concentration food source. Continue reading “In Situ Bio-Remediation of Perc From Syrup to Cheese Whey”

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

PDF Version

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”

State of California Targets Dry Cleaners

Written By Steve Henshaw, P.G., President & CEO, EnviroForensics
As seen in the May 2009 issue of Western Cleaner & Launderer.

PDF Version

Dating back to March 1992when the California Regional Water Quality Control Board published a report entitled, “Dry Cleaners – A Major Source of PCE in Groundwater,” the state of California has concentrated its regional groundwater investigations on dry cleaning facilities. Although the March 1992 report looked at other industries as potential sources of perchloroethylene (PCE) groundwater contamination, it concentrated its investigation on dry cleaners. Continue reading “State of California Targets Dry Cleaners”

Maybe Its Time to Write Your Congressman

8-10-or-12-Pick a Number…

Written By: Marti Russell, Western Sales Manager, EnviroForensics

At a Bay Area Air Quality Management District (BAAQMD) meeting in San Francisco, California, the Bay Area cleaners learned their recent “proposed” fate.  The 8, 10, or 12 numbers are the newly proposed phase out years for dry cleaning machines that use perchloroethylene (Perc).  Never mind the State feels that perc units can operate safely for 15 years.

This idea of giving years for the phase-out is a result of a directive given to the BAAQMD staff, from the BAAQMD Board of Directors, at a Hearing on March 4, 2009.  I believe the Board’s exact words were that they felt there is “an excessive amount of time” between now and July 1, 2010 (the year perc (15+ old units need to stop being used and or need to be replaced in CA) and the year 2023, (the year perc is totally banned in California).  The BAAQMD wants to see a shorter time span for phasing out perc units, so the magic number will either be all 8-year, 10-year, or 12-year-old perc machines that must stop being used in the air shed monitored by the BAAQMD. Continue reading “Maybe Its Time to Write Your Congressman”

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”