News Release 098

Department of Natural Resources refers eight dry cleaners to attorney general for hazardous waste violations

Volume 38-098 (For Immediate Release)
Contact: Larry Archer

JEFFERSON CITY, MO, MARCH 5, 2010-- The Missouri Department of Natural Resources referred eight dry cleaning businesses to the Missouri Attorney General's Office. The businesses failed to register with the department and pay applicable surcharges and penalties, which are in violation of Missouri's Hazardous Waste Law.

The department is requesting the attorney general to compel the dry cleaners to submit all applicable registration forms, surcharges and penalties and interest to the Drycleaning Environmental Response Trust Fund. This fund helps cover the investigation and cleanup of active and abandoned dry cleaners with extensive contamination due to the use of chlorinated solvents. The Drycleaning Environmental Response Trust Fund is administered by the department's Hazardous Waste Program.

The following businesses were referred to the Attorney General's Office:

Operators of an active dry cleaning facility using chlorinated solvents are required to register with the department. Each active dry cleaning facility is required to pay an annual registration surcharge based upon the number of gallons of chlorinated solvents used during the calendar year.

Chlorinated solvents used in dry cleaning such as trichloroethylene and perchloroethylene, also known as perc, can cause contamination. All dry cleaning facilities, including coin-operated dry cleaners, are subject to the requirements of the hazardous waste law. Registration with the department also helps the department track the use of chlorinated solvents.

Missouri's Hazardous Waste Management Law exists to protect public and environmental health and the department is responsible for enforcing the law and regulations.

The department's enforcement actions help protect human health and the environment by requiring facilities to achieve and maintain compliance. The main goal in any enforcement action is to work with a facility to successfully achieve compliance with regulatory standards and then ensure it has the tools to remain in compliance. As part of that process, penalties may be assessed to ensure future compliance by removing the economic benefit of continued noncompliance.

The department strives to work with owners and operators to fix problems before an issue is referred. In situations where the responsible party is unwilling or unable to bring the facility into compliance and be protective of human health and the environment, the department will refer the case to the Attorney General's Office.

For more information, contact the department's Hazardous Waste Program at 573-751-3176 or call toll-free at 800-361-4827.