Minnesota Dry Cleaning Plant Ordered to Stop Using Banned Machine

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Region 5 has issued an administrative consent order to Pfeffer's Cleaners to comply with the Clean Air Act at the company's dry cleaning plant in White Bear Lake, Minn. The order requires the company to stop using a transfer machine in its dry cleaning process no later than Sept. 1. A transfer machine is a multiple-machine dry cleaning operation in which washing and drying are performed in different machines. Transfer machines have been banned for use in dry cleaning since July 2008.

Pfeffer's is subject to the dry cleaning rule of the national emission standards for hazardous air pollutants because it uses perchloroethylene in its dry cleaning process. EPA says perchloroethylene may cause serious health effects including birth defects and cancer, and it may also cause harmful environmental and ecological effects.

The agency notified Pfeffer's in January that it believed the company was in violation of the dry cleaning rule. In February, EPA and company representatives discussed the alleged violation. EPA says it learned of the alleged violation from local health authorities and from the company's response to an EPA information request.

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