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Saskatoon dry cleaners fined $10,000 for failed environmental inspection

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Executive Cleaners and Donald Pattison of Saskatoon were ordered on July 6, 2016, in Saskatchewan Provincial Court to pay a $5,000 fine each after pleading guilty to one offence each under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999 (CEPA 1999). Under CEPA 1999, dry cleaners must follow regulations concerning the use of tetrachloroethylene (also known as perchloroethylene – PERC), including storage and reporting requirements.

On August 21, 2014, enforcement officers conducted an inspection at Executive Cleaners. They found six 10-litre barrels containing PERC residue and were advised that the barrels had been in storage for three years. The officers gathered samples from each barrel. Environment and Climate Change Canada’s laboratory in Edmonton tested the samples and confirmed that all six barrels contained PERC. The concentration of PERC in the barrels ranged from 24,600 parts per million (ppm) to 503,000 ppm. Under the regulations, the owner or operator of a dry cleaning machine must have all of its PERC residue transported to a waste management facility no less than once every 12 months.

PERC enters the environment through the atmosphere, where it can damage plants and find its way into water systems, putting aquatic species at risk. Human exposure to high concentrations of PERC can cause eye irritation, memory loss, and liver and kidney damage, among other ailments.

The $10,000 in fines go to the Environmental Damages Fund, administered by Environment and Climate Change Canada. Also as a result of this conviction, Executive Cleaners will be added to the Environmental Offenders Registry.

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