Chemicals used in dry cleaning, including perchloroethylene (“perc”), must never be discharged into the public sewer. Dry cleaners that use perc are required to obtain a Pollution Prevention Permit and are subject to inspections to verify compliance.
Perc is a toxic pollutant and a likely human carcinogen. The California Air Resources Board tightly regulates the use of perc in the dry cleaning industry to prevent harmful emissions, spills, leaky pipes, leaky tanks, machine leaks, and improperly handled waste. Perc has been known to contaminate groundwater through cracks in the sewer system.
All dry cleaners that use perc are required to obtain a Pollution Prevention Permit from DSRSD. Permits are issued for a four-year period, and district staff will conduct an inspection during the term of the permit.
DSRSD charges permit fees to recover administrative costs of issuing the permit. Additional fees will be accessed to cover the cost of inspections and any enforcement actions based on the amount of staff time needed to inspect the facility and complete administrative duties following the inspections. The fee will vary with the size and complexity of each site and the number of follow-up items.
Whether or not they use perc, all dry cleaning business owners should read the district's Standard Permit Conditions, as well as industry best management practices, to ensure compliance with regulations and improve housekeeping practices.
To apply for a permit or for more information, contact Clean Water Programs Specialist Stefanie Olson at (925) 875-2245.Forms and Resources
- Permit Application
- Sample Permit
- Standard Permit Conditions for Dry Cleaning Facilities
- California Air Resources Board regulations for dry cleaners
- Dry Cleaning Industry Handbook for Self-inspections, published by the California Air Resources Board
- Frequently Asked Questions about Dry Cleaning, published by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency