Major changes are coming to the dry cleaning industry in New York.
Business owners and managers must become familiar with these new round of proposed NY State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) regulations that will likely impose significant financial and management costs on some dry cleaning businesses.
As an initial matter, it's worth noting that dry cleaners exclusively using water-based cleaning processes or liquid carbon dioxide are exempt from these PERC-specific regulations. The remaining facilities that still use PERC, approximately 70 percent of all dry cleaners in the state, will need to comply with these proposed regulations. While a many of deadlines in the proposed rules are years into the future, affected owners, business managers, counsel and accountants should take note now.
As part of its proposal, the DEC is looking to repeal the existing Part 232 dry cleaner regulations and replace the same with a revised and retitled Part 232, Dry Cleaning Facilities. The proposed new regulations would govern facilities operating PERC equipment or alternative solvent dry cleaning equipment (non-PERC dry cleaners are regulated under Part 212).
Aside from reorganizing the regulations into 4 new subparts, the DEC proposes 70 important definitions for terms such as "major dry cleaning facility," "co-located commercial facility" and "co-located residential facility," that will affect how its rules are interpreted. The DEC also emphasizes that to achieve greater PERC emission reductions, "third generation machines, which are older perc machines without an integral secondary control system, will be phased-out by December 31, 2021" and that "all alternative solvent transfer machines will be phased-out by December 31, 2031" in order to reduce Volatile Organic Carbon (VOC) emissions. According to the DEC, the proposal will impact dry cleaner owners or operators at more than 1,000 non-major facilities, adding costs ranging from a few thousand dollars to potentially more than $100,000 (i.e., if a new 25 pound machine is needed).
While the July 7 comment period for these proposed rules has passed, undoubtedly DEC has received hundreds (if not thousands) of comments from potentially affected business owners and industry groups. It will be interesting to see how the DEC is able to balance the interests of the regulated business community and the protection of the environment with respect to these new PERC regulations.
Click here to review the NYSDEC's Fact Sheet of the proposed changes to Part 232 regulations for PERC-based dry cleaners.
Call the attorneys of Periconi, LLC at (212) 213-5500 if you operate a dry cleaning business and are going to be affected by the DEC's new Part 232 regulations.