Dry Cleaner Soil Testing

Dry Cleaner Soil Testing 

An article about Dry Cleaner Soil Testing, by Azad A. Kaligi, PG.

Limited Dry Cleaner Soil Testing can be Conducted Prior to a Phase 2 ESA

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In this day and age, most commercial landowners are well aware of the environmental risks associated with having a dry cleaning facility on their property.  A common hassle for landowners gearing up to sell property (or applying for an equity loan) with a history of dry cleaning is the obligation to face environmental testing.   Even when landowners trust that their dry cleaning tenants run a clean shop, this process becomes stressful since money, time and future opportunities are dependent on the findings of the environmental investigation.

Real Estate & Environmental Due Diligence

Today’s standard for real estate due diligence typically starts with a Phase I Environmental Site Assessment (Phase I ESA).  However, due to the known environmental impacts caused by many dry cleaners in the past, some lenders today tend to skip past the Phase I ESA stage, and request a Phase II Subsurface Investigation if there is a known cleaners onsite.

Dry Cleaner Contamination – How it Happens

Soil and groundwater contamination is a possibility from most historical and current dry cleaning facilities. Various types of dry cleaning solvents have been utilized since the early 1900s, but the most commonly used substance has been tetrachloroethylene (PCE).   Older dry cleaning facilities tend to have a higher potential for contamination because the older machinery lacked secondary containment and tank-tightness features.  Other potential sources of subsurface contamination exist in the onsite sewer and drainage system, as well as waste storage areas.  Modern facilities can have upgraded equipment with leak prevention systems, and operate using environmentally friendly solvents.  However, its the historical releases of PCE that could still pose environmental concerns for landowners.

Taking Small, Smart Steps in Dry Cleaner Soil Testing

Sometimes, a commercial property owner may find it in their best interest to independently conduct a series of limited subsurface investigations (such as a sub-slab soil gas screening, shallow discrete soil sampling, shallow soil gas screening, etc) prior to conducting a full scope Phase II Subsurface Investigation.

Dry Cleaning Soil Testing Interior Sub-slab Vapor Probes

Limited Dry Cleaner Soil Testing vs. Dry Cleaner Phase II ESA

The goal of limited environmental due diligence tests is to obtain a particular set of limited data that is cost efficient and reliable enough to be used by the landowner towards better judgment and decision making.  In some cases, limited subsurface investigations may not even need to be conducted.  The Geo Forward team is experienced with this process, and can help landowners decide the necessity for a limited subsurface investigation.

Although the data from limited dry cleaner soil testing scopes can help provide insight to landowners, it does not qualify as an official Dry Cleaner Phase II ESA.  To meet the ASTM standards for the Phase II Environmental Site Assessment or Phase 2 Subsurface Investigation and satisfy major lending entities, a full-scope Dry Cleaner Phase II ESA will be required.

Dry Cleaner Remediation

If soil and groundwater contamination becomes apparent after a Dry Cleaner Phase II ESA, landowners may find that their best option would be to begin remediation and restore their property value overtime.  The geologists and engineers at Geo Forward, Inc. are well experienced with all of the modern methods of dry cleaner remediation.  The remediation method and process can vary from site to site.  In most cases, remedial efforts at contaminated dry cleaning facilities include soil vapor extraction, groundwater pumping and treating, and controlled chemical injection to accelerate the degradation of contaminants.

Geo Forward is a experienced in conducting all levels of dry cleaner investigations and remediation projects, and can guide landowners through the best methods for environmental due diligence. 

For more information about the various options for limited subsurface testing, dry cleaner Phase II ESAs or dry cleaner remediation, please call (888) 930-6604 to speak with a licensed professional geologist or engineer today.   

Additional Information & Sources: 

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA), Office of Air Quality Planning and Standards,  Health and Environmental Impacts Division, Research Triangle Park, NC. “Economic Impact Analysis of the Perchloroethylene Dry Cleaning Residual Risk Standard” – July 2006, https://www3.epa.gov/ttnecas1/regdata/EIAs/eiafinalpercdrycleanersresidrisk.pdf

USEPA, Technology Transfer Network – Air Toxics Web Site, “Rule and Implementation Information for Perchloroethylene Dry Cleaning Facilities” – Docket ID. No. OAR-2005-0155, Legacy Docket #A-88-11 – February 2016, https://www3.epa.gov/airtoxics/dryperc/dryclpg.html

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