Saskatoon dry cleaner pleads guilty under federal environmental law

Environment and Climate Change Canada says a Saskatoon dry cleaner pled guilty to an offence over the storage of perchloroethylene. Luke Banville / Global News

A Saskatoon dry cleaner, Executive Cleaners, and Donald Pattison pleaded guilty to one offence each under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, stemming from a failed inspection.

Under the Act, dry cleaners must follow regulations about the use and storage of tetrachloroethylene, also known as perchloroethylene (PERC).

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Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC) said PERC enters the environment through the atmosphere and human exposure to high concentrations can cause eye irritation, memory loss and kidney damage.

In August 2014, enforcement officers carried out an inspection at Executive Cleaners and found six 10-litre barrels containing PERC residue.

Tests by ECCC’s laboratory showed the concentration of PERC in the barrels ranged from 24,600 to 503,000 parts per million.

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Under regulations, the owner or operator of a dry cleaning machine must have all PERC residues taken to a waste management facility no less than once annually.

Inspectors were advised that the barrels had been in storage for three years.

Pattison and Executive Cleaners were each ordered to pay a $5,000 fine in provincial court last month.

Tetrachloroethylene is a dry-cleaning solvent and is listed as a toxic substance under the Act as it has the potential to contaminate ground and surface water.

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