Dry cleaner coughs up for clean up

A small dry cleaning firm will have to pay out thousands of dollars towards the costs of cleaning up a major superfund site contaminated with industrial solvents and chemicals.

Local firm Paul McCoys Laundry and Dry Cleaners, in Phoenix, Arizona, agreed a $26,000 settlement with the US Environmental Protection Agency.

It will be used to tackle groundwater contamination at a superfund site in eastern Phoenix.

The site, which is approximately seven miles long, has been on the National Priorities List since 1989 and Paul McCoys is among a number of companies that EPA is holding liable for the clean-up operation.

Groundwater on the site has been contaminated with solvents and other chemicals including trichloroethylene (TCE), which in large doses can cause liver problems and may increase the risk of developing cancer.

Paul McCoys first began operating on part of the superfund site in the 1940s and the business was based there until 1990.

"This company has accepted their share of responsibility for the site," said Keith Takata, superfund direction for the EPA's Pacific Southwest region.

"We believe this is an equitable settlement which will help move along our ongoing clean up efforts."

Clean up work has already begun on some parts of the site, with two remedial systems in place to capture and treat contaminated groundwater.

According to EPA figures, 6,457,056,700 gallons of water or other liquids from the site have been treated, stabilized, or removed - roughly equivalent to 107 supertankers.

EPA will place the money from Paul McCoys in an interest-bearing account to be used for work on the site.

It is still assessing the area where the business was located to determine the best method to clean up the contamination.

More information about the site can be found here.

Kate Martin



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