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Dry Cleaner Regulation and Policy FAQ

The Department receives many questions regarding DEC's policy on dry-cleaner issues associated with the implementation of Part 232. The following are questions and answers on common topics that are of interest to the dry-cleaning community.

Question: Can a candidate for Operator Certification who has failed the exam re-take either the written or hands-on portion of the exam alone in an effort to pass the exam.

Answer: Certified Operator candidates who receive a failing mark for the certification examination must retake both the written and hands-on sections of the exam. The Part 232 Advisory Committee concurred that passing the Operator Certification exam would entail demonstrating both written and hands-on knowledge of the required subject material. There is no individual "pass" or "fail" grade for each section of this exam, but only one combined final examination score. Therefore, the candidate cannot retake only part of the exam.

Question: Must new dry-cleaner Owner-Managers and machine Operators be certified before commencing operation of a new facility? Can't new Perc dry-cleaners just enroll in the next available training class after opening up their shop?

Answer: It is incumbent upon a new facility owner to obtain all necessary government permits, registrations, licenses, approvals and certifications prior to opening the facility.

The §232-2.10 training and certification process serves to inform potential Perc dry-cleaners of the regulatory requirements associated with operating a Perc dry-cleaning facility and the current alternatives to Perc dry-cleaning. DEC approved training organizations are required to provide training at least once every quarter of the year.

Note further that §232-2.10(b) covers the situation where a certified operator is unavailable due to "unforeseen/unpredictable situation[s]," for example, the certified operator is hospitalized or dies. Vacations and other routine staff absences are not considered valid §232.-2.10(b) exceptions. Part 232-2 applicable facility Owner-Managers are advised of the wisdom of having more than one certified individual available to operate the dry-cleaning machine to ensure operational continuity.

Question: What are DEC's policies regarding permitting and registration of new dry-cleaning facilities with perc and/or alternative solvent machines? What is the procedure for transferring ownership of a facility?

Answer: With the exception of dry cleaners having ONLY a CO2 or wet-cleaning machine, which are currently exempted from Part 232, all new facilities, new machines, or new solvents, require dry cleaners to apply for the permit or registration certificate prior to opening a new facility, installing new machine, or changing solvents.

All major facilities must obtain a Title V permit. Major facilities are defined as having the potential to emit above the thresholds specified in Part 201. For Hazardous Air Pollutants (HAPs), like Perc, the threshold is 10 tons per year of a single HAP. If more than one HAP is emitted, the threshold is 25 tons per year total HAPs. For volatile organic compounds (VOCs), like petroleum solvents, the threshold is dependent on the attainment status of the area in which the dry-cleaner is located. Downstate the major facility threshold for VOCs is 25 tons per year, and upstate the threshold is 50 tons per year.

New dry-cleaning facilities with solvent use above 1050 gal/yr of perc, and/or 3000gal/yr of alternative solvents, but below major source thresholds, are required to apply for a state facility permit.

Dry-cleaners below 1050 gal/yr of perc and/or 3000 gal/yr are required to obtain DEC registrations. Note that almost all dry cleaners falls into this category. DEC's permits and certificates rule has been updated as of March 10, 2018.

Machine removal: Part 232-1.6(c) requires dry-cleaners removing perc or alternative solvent dry cleaning machines to notify the appropriate DEC Regional Air Pollution Control Engineer that the machine has been removed within 30 days by certified mail, return receipt requested.

Ownership transfer: Dry-cleaners transferring ownership of a facility must file an Application for Permit Transfer form within 30 days of the change of ownership at the appropriate DEC Regional Air Program office. New Owners-Managers and Operators must be certified prior to taking over the facility.