Environment
5:22 pm
Fri August 24, 2012

Stricter Rules On Groundwater Contaminant

A new law is making it tougher for dry cleaners to use a carcinogenic chemical that has been found in groundwater.

Governor Pat Quinn signed a new law Friday that tightens regulation on perchloroethylene, which is a colorless chemical that is used primarily for dry cleaning, and, to a lesser extent, as an industrial cleaner. The chemical has made its way into wells and groundwater when used improperly. It can cause kidney and liver damage, as well as cancer.

Under the new law, companies using “perc” will have to improve their containment systems, train their employees better, and create more comprehensive reports on their use of the chemical. Beginning next year, all new dry-cleaning machines will have to have two control systems to dilute the chemicals. By 2014, machines that use perc will have to have sealed containment systems to stop any leaks or spills.