Conference Call Minutes from November 9, 1998

Dry Cleaners Remediation Project Conference Call, November 9, 1998

Dry Cleaners Remediation Project
Conference Call

November 9, 1998

State Representatives  
Brent Hartsfield Florida
John Kelley Illinois
Bob Jurgens Kansas
Dale Trippler Minnesota
Jack Butler and Bruce Nicholson North Carolina
Dick Dezeeuw and Kevin Parrett Oregon
Amy Hafer South Carolina
Steve Goins Tennessee

Other conference call participants included Richard Steimle from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)'s Technology Innovation Office (TIO), Peter Riddle and Carolyn Perroni from Environmental Management Support, Inc. (EMS), and Meg Vrablik and Christine Hartnett from Eastern Research Group, Inc. (ERG).

Opening Remarks
Richard Steimle, EPA, TIO
Richard Steimle welcomed participants to the fourth Dry Cleaners Remediation Project conference call. He noted that several participants were new to the group and he thanked them for their interest, encouraging them to get involved in future activities. He asked new participants to forward their contact information to ERG's Meg Vrablik (

Steimle noted that the conference call participants have at least one thing in common: they are all involved in state programs that address dry cleaner cleanups. To date, Steimle said, the group has shared information via conference calls and the Internet. (Steimle encouraged new members to visit the Dry Cleaners Remediation Project Web page for a summary of previous conference call proceedings.)

Update on the Dry Cleaners Remediation Project Web page
Peter Riddle, EMS
Peter Riddle said EMS has made some changes to the Dry Cleaners Remediation Project Web site (, including:

Riddle asked for comments on the Web site's organization and informational content. No comments were provided. Riddle told participants he could be contacted through the "Comment Form" that is located on the Web site.

Face-to-Face Meeting
Richard Steimle, EPA, TIO
Steimle noted that the Dry Cleaners Remediation Project group is scheduled to meet on April 13, 1999, at the Holiday Inn Capital in Washington, D.C. He said 20 rooms have been set aside for the group and that travel expenses will be paid by TIO. He asked whether the conference call participants foresaw schedule conflicts. No one expressed any difficulties.

Steimle said the National Ground-Water Association could probably provide training at the meeting and agreed to obtain a copy of the training topics that they cover. He said he recently attended an Interstate Technology Regulatory Cooperation (ITRC) meeting and learned that three innovative technologies--thermal processes, surfactant flushing, and oxidation processes--are considered promising for trichloroethylene and PERC remediation at dry cleaner sites. Steimle noted that thermal processes and surfactant flushing are mobilizing technologies, but that oxidation processes actually destroy contaminants. Participants expressed strong interest in receiving training in these three technological areas during the April 13 meeting. Perroni noted that an in situ flushing demonstration project was conducted in Florida at Sage's Dry Cleaners site. Brent Hartsfield said the project involved a cosolvent flush and that the final report was recently released. Hartsfield offered to present results at the April 13 meeting. Steimle asked whether the cosolvent had been recirculated during the demonstration. Although he said he was not certain, Hartsfield said that he did not think it had. Steimle said recirculation issues can be a problem, noting that legal issues have been encountered at a demonstration project at Cape Canaveral's Launch Pad 34.

Jack Butler said he would like to receive training in natural attenuation and would like to learn more about the possibility of using phytoremedial technologies in areas where ground-water tables are shallow. Steimle asked whether natural attenuation should be used as a stand-alone treatment or as a polishing tool. Trippler said it depends on the site. Steimle said a natural attenuation course is currently traveling around the country. Butler said he was aware of this and that a course is scheduled in Atlanta on November 16 and 17, 1998. Although several state regulators from his office will be in attendance, Butler said he will not be able to attend. Trippler said he attended a three-day conference on natural attenuation. He said a Minnesota staff member was heavily involved with the course curriculum and also helped write a chapter entitled "Draft Guidelines: Natural Attenuation of Chlorinated Solvents." He said this chapter explains how to determine whether natural attenuation should be approved as a technology at a particular site. He said the chapter is presented in a guidance document that helps Minnesota's environmental staff members evaluate risk. Trippler offered to bring the chapter to the April 13 meeting. One participant noted that natural attenuation guidance documents must include sections that describes which parameters should be sampled in the field.

Steimle agreed to contact the National Ground-Water Association to discuss the possibility of presenting training on thermal processes, surfactant flushing, oxidation processes, natural attenuation, and phytoremediation. He said he would forward information on training possibilities to conference call participants.

Discussion on group organization
Steimle noted that the Dry Cleaners Remediation Project team has effectively exchanged information for several months. He said the team has the potential to be a lobbying group and, if united properly, could effectively push for more money, studies, and dry cleaner remediation demonstration projects. Steimle asked participants to think about group goals and said the topic could be discussed in greater detail at the April 13 meeting.

Steimle said the group should consider organizing internally so that participants are assigned leadership roles. He said that he and Perroni have experience working with several different work groups and could generate some suggestions on effective organizational structures. Within the next couple of weeks, Steimle said, he will draft some organizational strawmen and distribute them to the group. Steimle said the topic will be discussed in more detail during the next conference call.

Presentation by the State of South Carolina
Amy Hafer, South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control
Amy Hafer said that legislation for the South Carolina's Dry Cleaner Restoration Fund was passed in 1995. She said the legislation is modeled, in large part, after Florida's regulations. Hafer said the Department of Revenue has collected $2.3 million for the fund by collecting fees from two sources:

Steve Goins said he had been told that South Carolina has an "opt out" program that allows certain petroleum users exemption from the state fund. Hafer said such a program was in effect during the first year that the regulation was passed, but that it is no longer in effect.

While all South Carolinian dry cleaners are required to register with the Department of Revenue, they are not required to participate in the Dry Cleaner Restoration Fund. Those who are eligible to apply must (1) be certified by International Fabric Care or the Neighborhood Dry Cleaners Association, and (2) have containment measures established around dry cleaning equipment and waste storage areas. Dry cleaners who apply for the fund must fill out a registration form and submit it to the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control and the Bureau of Land Waste Management. Out of the 355 registered sites, about 320 have applied to participate in the fund. Hafer said her agency has conducted site visits at these sites to check for appropriate waste containment measures and to evaluate each facility's surroundings. As part of the application process, facility owners must hire an approved contractor to collect one 2-foot deep soil sample. Hafer said site owners are encouraged to collect the sample from an area where contamination is most likely to exist. Following this advice, many site owners use a concrete bore to collect samples immediately beneath their foundations.

Hafer said she is currently ranking the sites that have applied for the fund. All the sites must be ranked, she explained, regardless of whether contaminants are detected in the soil sample. She said sites are ranked by the amount of risk they pose to human health via exposure to groundwater, surface water, and soil. A site's score is often driven by its location. For example, she explained, sites within a 2-mile radius of a water supply source often score high. (All the water in South Carolina is considered drinkable.) Steimle asked whether groundwater data are used to determine the risk posed. Hafer said ground-water data are incorporated into the scoring system if data have been collected during previous investigations. In most cases, however, these data are not available. Hafer said the soil exposure route is often a minor contributor to the overall risk score unless the site proves to be highly contaminated and located near something like a day care center.

Hafer said restoration projects will not be initiated until all sites are scored. Then, sites will be cleaned in the order that they are ranked. She said some of the sites called forth for cleanup will be those which did not have contaminants detected in their initial field soil sample. She said site owners will be required to collect a second soil sample, which will be overseen by her department, to determine whether contamination exists. If no contaminants are detected, she said, cleanup efforts will not be initiated and the site owner will not be reimbursed for the money that was spent on the soil investigation. (Hafer said fund money cannot be used on uncontaminated sites.)

Hafer said that restoration activities will be initiated by fall 1999. She said fund money will be used to conduct cleanups at current and former dry cleaning sites that prove to be contaminated. The cleanup will be performed, she explained by approved contractors and the Superfund department. She said the state cannot spend more than $250,000 per year on cleanup activities at any given site. She said site owners who receive cleanups will be required to pay a deductible. At former sites, site owners will be required to pay a $15,000 deductible. Rates at current sites, however, will vary depending on when they applied for participation in the fund. Deductibles of $1,000 and $5,000 will be charged if a site owner applied to the fund prior to the first (1997) or second (October 1998) cutoff dates, respectively. All facilities that applied after that date will be charged a $10,000 deductible.

Nicholson asked whether South Carolina will use risk-based provisions for cleanups. Hafer said some thought has been given to using the 5 parts per billion ground-water cleanup standard. She advised directing additional questions to Craig Dukes.

Presentation by the State of Illinois
John Kelley, Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (IEPA)

John Kelley said legislation for Illinois' dry cleaners fund was passed about one year ago. Unlike other state programs, he explained, the fund will be managed by a seven-member council that is appointed by the Governor. Kelley said the Council will serve as a quasi-governmental organization and will hire an administrative firm or individual to operate the fund. According to Kelley, the Council will be responsible for setting rules regarding prioritization and access to the fund. Kelley said the Council was just recently established and includes a member from the Illinois State Fabric Care Association, a dry cleaner owner/operator, a PERC supplier, and a waste management representative.

Kelley said the Department of Revenue has been collecting fees for the fund since the legislation was passed. To date, $2 million has been collected from the following sources:

Kelley said the legislation requires dry cleaners to submit soil survey results to the Council within the first 5 years of the fund's initiation. These surveys, he explained, are performed to determine whether contamination exists. If contamination is detected, cleanup activities must be initiated within the same 5-year limit.(1) Kelley noted that cleanups will be performed by private contractors, but that they must be coordinated with IEPA to ensure consistency with the state's risk-based cleanup program. Kelley said IEPA will review and supervise the cleanup and determine when no further remedial activities are needed. Steimle asked which technologies IEPA will endorse. To date, Kelley noted, excavation and soil venting (active and passive) have been the most widely utilized remediation approaches at dry cleaning sites in Illinois.

Kelley said site owners must pay (1) cleanup costs and (2) costs associated with participation in IEPA's Voluntary Cleanup Program. The latter, he explained, is used to pay for IEPA's review and oversight services. He said that IEPA estimates the cost of their services up-front and requires an advanced partial payment of up to $5,000. He said site owners who seek a "No Further Remediation" classification will be charged an additional fee of up to $2,500.

Kelley said site owners must pay a deductible to participate in the state's trust fund, but then can apply for reimbursement of their cleanup costs. In order to be eligible for reimbursement, Kelley noted, facilities must (1) have containment features located under their machines, (2) practice certain pollution prevention procedures, and (3) be in compliance with all regulatory provisions. One participant asked whether site owners will be reimbursed for the fees they pay to participate in IEPA's Voluntary Cleanup Program. Kelley said he thinks all these costs will be considered eligible for reimbursement. He noted, however, that reimbursement rules are not clearly in place because the Council has not established them yet. Kelley said the Council will have the authority to review contractor plans, bids, and bills.

Kelley said that insurance policies will be offered to facilities where (1) contamination was never detected, or (2) remedial activities have cleaned the area to acceptable standards. He said the insurance policy will protect site owners from paying for future contamination problems. Facilities that are eligible for the policy must meet the same containment, pollution prevention, and compliance requirements listed above.

One participant asked whether the state has the authority to step in on enforcement cases. Kelley said it did, noting that the trust fund will not protect facilities that pose imminent danger.

Scheduling of Next Conference Call
Steimle said that Perroni will schedule the next conference call for the first week of January 1999. He asked participants for input on topics to cover during the next call. It was agreed that discussion topics would include:

Goins asked whether any states had established a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with EPA to prevent overfiling. He said some dry cleaner owners are reluctant to participate in state programs without some sort of assurance that their activities will protect them from having to perform EPA-imposed corrective activities. Kelley and Dezeeuw said their states have good cooperative agreements with EPA and that EPA does not become involved in projects in which the state has taken the lead. They said they thought the relationship between EPA and their states evolved informally rather than being specified in an MOU.

Action Items

1. Although the legislation has been in place for about a year, very little has been done toward getting the fund operational. Because it took so long to establish the Council, the Illinois State Fabric Care Association has asked that the official fund initiation date be marked as January 1, 1999.