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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. See Perc Owner/Manager and Operator Certification page on this website.

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: 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.

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.

Question: How Do I Disposal of Used Perc Dry-cleaning Equipment?

Answer: The disposal of perc dry cleaning machines is guided by New York's Hazardous Waste Regulations. There are three different options:

OPTION 1: Operational machine sold out-of-State. A perc dry cleaning machine must be relocated out-of-state if it is to operate in its new location. New York does not permit installation of a used machine, unless a variance has been granted. Sale of an operational machine avoids the complications of disposing it as waste.

OPTION 2: Machine disposed of as a "Non-Hazardous Waste". NYS Part 376 regulations describes cleaning standards required to consider waste non-hazardous. If done before 90 days from shutdown, the machine can be cleaned on site without needing a Hazardous Waste Treatment Permit. Past 90 days, the cleaning must be done at a facility with a Part 373 Hazardous Waste Treatment Permit.

OPTION 3: Machine disposed of as "Scrap Metal". There are two possibilities: 1) Clean the machine as in OPTION 2, then turned it over to a scrap metal reclaimer. When cleaned before disposal, the machine is considered non-hazardous waste. Or, 2) Send the uncleaned machine to a scrap metal reclaimer that has the proper permit and facilities to handle hazardous waste. Even though the reclaimer would be responsible for cleaning the machine, the dry cleaner would still be legally responsible for the proper handling of the hazardous waste. For this very reason, it is important a dry cleaner hire a reputable hazardous waste handler/reclaimer. In this case, the cleaner would have to file a "C7" Notification for Hazardous Waste Generators.

NOTE: Under all options, perc and perc-contaminated washing solutions and drainings are hazardous waste. In most cases your regular hazardous waste hauler can handle the extra volume. The Small Business Environmental Ombudsman (1-800-STATE-NY) is available to assist with disposal information