With growing global concerns over the erosion of the environment, the dry cleaning industry faces many challenges in running a cleaner and more efficient business model.
The fact that it is known that the solvents used in this industry account for many of the issues associated with contaminated groundwater aquifers is disconcerting. Clean up can cost millions of dollars, but more importantly, the many dangers associated with industrial plants and companies that pollute the air we breathe, the water we drink, and the biosphere is quite alarming.
Due to the fact that the property owner is often liable for the damage being caused, they need Dry cleaning insurance to pay for any cleanup required when a violation of city, state, or government regulations is discovered. While contamination of the environment is often associated with the dry cleaning business, a service many US citizens use on a daily basis, something needs to be done to reduce toxins being released into our air.
Retail property owners must address these risks
The problem with the need to use these chemicals is that they end up being released into the soil or groundwater and the cleanup costs can range anywhere from tens of thousands of dollars, to several millions of dollars annually. One of the downsides for those in the dry cleaning profession is that many retail property owners and managers now refuse to lease to dry cleaners with on-site plants in order to avoid the potential environmental hazards these tenants present.
On the upside, dry cleaning equipment technology and hazardous waste handling have improved substantially over the last decade or so, which means that levels of chemical releases are now fewer and less common. Another significant problem is that a number of chemical releases into the soil and groundwater have occurred unintentionally from the leaking sanitary sewer lines that many operators, at the time, legally discharged their waste into.
The good news is that there are now in place a variety of solutions, including state cleanup funds, along with guaranteed cleanups that have emerged. One way owners can help regulate tenants is to require them to use the latest dry cleaning equipment technology and require regular inspections by the property manager.
Insurance companies now require more extensive soil and groundwater investigation around potential contamination sources that have been identified in assessments. This is needed before they will provide Dry cleaning insurance coverage to owners of these plants.