Dry cleaners may be staples of retail centers across the country and can be seen on every street corner, but they can also be at the center of environmental liability issues in their communities.
According to the EPA, there are upwards of 90,000 former dry cleaning sites that may still be contributing to contamination in communities. Cleaning up dry cleaning solvent that has contaminated groundwater aquifers can end up costing millions of dollars, not to mention put citizens in harm’s way.
In this article, we will discuss dry cleaners’ environmental liabilities and safe, effective methods to reduce risk.
How Dry Cleaners Can Proactively Protect Against Contamination
Changing dry cleaning processes can be inexpensive and end up helping dry cleaners stay away from environmental liability issues. By replacing or transferring equipment, dry cleaners can reduce pollution and contamination, while also seeing overall cost savings. Here are some ways in which these goals can be achieved.
Like other types of businesses, dry cleaners and laundry services need to invest in certain levels of insurance to take care of customer complaints, protect their equipment, and mitigate potential environmental liabilities when needed. Such insurance, like a Site Pollution Liability program, can help provide the necessary protection to cover these kinds of costs.
Dry cleaners can get out ahead of this by stopping contamination at the source by lowering emissions. One way this can be done is to check hoses, couplings, pumps, valves, and gaskets on a regular basis. Dry cleaners can look for leaks with a leak detector to help identify any issues. This is a low-cost solution that can end up helping businesses when needing to avoid major problems. Another way to lower emissions is to replace cartridge filters with spin disk filters that can be cleaned easily, even without opening.
Dry cleaners can help to cut down on potential environmental liability issues by changing the tech they use. Wet cleaning, liquid CO2, and silicone-based cleaning machines can all be installed and replace what’s in use at the moment to reduce emissions. Wet cleaning uses water and detergent to clean clothes, liquid Co2 is non-toxic and doesn’t contribute to air pollution, and silicone-based cleaning machines don’t use VOC and are odorless.
Updating Dry Cleaners
Dry cleaners can reduce process vent emissions by putting to use a closed-loop dry-to-dry machine. Adding a carbon absorber can reduce emissions by recovering solvents and keeping them from seeping out to the community. Also, when loading machines, dry cleaner staff should make sure to do so properly and avoid overloading. Overloading can end up reducing the overall effectiveness of solvent recovery equipment. On the other hand, underloading makes less efficient use of the solvent in the system.
Dry cleaners should be sure to keep their Pollution Liability insurance updated to make sure they are covered in the event of a pollution or contamination claim. But considering these changes can also limit the potential for contamination and environmental issues from happening in the first place.
It’s important to remember that dry cleaners insurance is not a blanket type of coverage. Instead, in order to comprehensively protect dry cleaning businesses from complaints and liabilities related to environmental damage, additional policies may be needed to adequately cover complaints, machinery, processes, and potential pollution. Speak with your trusted insurance agent to ensure you have the ample protection that’s needed.
About Irving Weber Associates
At Irving Weber Associates, Inc., we understand what it takes to run a successful Dry Cleaner, Coin Operated Laundromat, Linen Supply business, Textile Restoration, or Commercial Launderer, including investing in a comprehensive Insurance Program to ensure that you are financially protected against claims. Our programs offer overall business insurance coverages including General Liability, Property, Site Pollution Liability, Boiler & Machinery Equipment Breakdown, Workers’ Compensation, Business Auto, and many more. For a detailed look at how we can help you safeguard your business with a custom-tailored package, please contact our experts today at (800) 243-1811.