Dry cleaners

Man stands by rows of sweaters and shirts hanging from ceiling rack at dry cleaner.

Air emissions

The PDF icon Compliance calendar: Dry cleaners (p-sbap5-04) summarizes federal standards and state regulations for dry cleaners that use perchloroethylene (perc) and provides a place to keep required records. Dry cleaners can also use the calendar to complete a self-audit.

Dry cleaners that use perc must follow federal standards (summarized in PDF icon Emission Standards for Perchloroethylene Dry Cleaners) that reduce the amount of perc released to the air. They must also submit a Microsoft Office document icon DC-08: Drycleaner - Notification of Compliance Status Form within 30 days of opening, stating that they are in compliance with the federal standards.

Hazardous waste

You need a hazardous waste license if your business produces any amount of hazardous waste. Businesses in Anoka, Carver, Dakota, Hennepin, Ramsey, Scott, or Washington County are licensed and inspected by their county. Facilities in greater Minnesota are licensed and inspected by the MPCA. If you produce only small amounts of hazardous waste, you probably qualify to bring the wastes to PDF icon Very small quantity generators collection programs (w-hw2-51).

Perc-related waste, such as cooked powder residues, still-bottom residues, spent cartridges, button/lint trap waste, and separator water must be managed as hazardous waste. Use the hazardous waste code F002. See the Hazardous waste documents and forms page for information on managing specific types of hazardous waste.

Training

Annual hazardous waste training is required for large quantity generators (2,200+ pounds a month) and small quantity generators (220 to 2,200 pounds a month), and recommended for very small quantity generators (less than 220 pounds a month). Free training is available from the MPCA and some metro-area counties:

Hazardous waste due dates

Requirement Due date

Hazardous waste generators fee

Mailed to license holders in first quarter, due date on invoice
License application Due August 1 for Greater Minnesota businesses;
Twin Cities metro businesses: contact your county

Recycling and trash

Cleaners in the Twin Cities metro area are required to recycle if they have more than four cubic yards of trash per week.

Wastewater

Do not send dry cleaning wastewater to a septic system or storm sewer. You have three options for disposing of wastewater:

  • Manage it as hazardous waste and have it hauled off site for disposal.
  • Get permission to discharge it to your local wastewater treatment plant; contact them to learn what is required. In the Twin Cities metro area, this is usually Metropolitan Council Environmental Services.
  • Manage wastewater using an evaporator that meets the definition of a wastewater treatment unit specified in Minnesota rules. (New evaporators connected to city sewer systems most likely meet the definition.) The evaporator must:
    • Be commercially manufactured or designed, and certified by a professional engineer registered in Minnesota.
    • Treat wastewater to below 0.7 milligrams/liter of perc before evaporation. Keep proof of this on site, either from the manufacturer or lab test results.
    • Be inspected, along with all associated parts, regularly by the owner. Document your inspections in the PDF icon Compliance calendar: Dry cleaners (p-sbap5-04); the calendar also has a detailed description of evaporator requirements.

Local regulation

Be sure to check with your county, city, and township to see if they have any additional requirements.

Beyond compliance

Consider switching away from perc to alternative cleaning systems, such as wet cleaning; liquid CO2; high-flash hydrocarbons, acetal, or glycol ethers; or siloxane. Reducing perc usage can:

  • Reduce your regulatory obligations and hazardous waste fees
  • Reduce employee health risks associated with exposure to perc
  • Attract environmentally conscious consumers

Spot cleaners, although usually not perc, may be hazardous waste. Switch to a water-based spot cleaner if you can.

The MPCA small business loan program provides low-interest loans to dry cleaners who want to switch away from perc. 

Reduce waste

  • Provide reusable garment bags instead of plastic bags.
  • Recycle as much as possible, purchase products with a minimum amount of packaging, and encourage your customers to reuse hangers and reusable bags.
  • Switch to e-receipts if possible.

See the Beyond compliance page for more information on reducing waste and saving money in your business.

Additional resources