Compliance information for dry cleaning owners and operators: Tetrachloroethylene (PERC) regulations

Every dry cleaning facility that uses tetrachloroethylene (PERC) is subject to the Tetrachloroethylene (Use in Dry Cleaning and Reporting Requirements) Regulations. Under these regulations, as an owner and/or operator, you have three primary responsibilities:

  • the proper handling, recovery and disposal of PERC
  • preventing spills
  • reporting and keeping records.

Quick links

Mandatory annual report form for dry cleaners

Contact information

Video: Handling PERC and PERC waste

Handling, recovering and disposing of tetrachloroethylene (PERC)

Dry cleaning facility requirements for PERC handling

You must store all PERC, residue and waste water containing PERC in closed containers. Any container holding PERC, waste water and/or residue, including stills as well as button and lint traps, must be kept closed except when you need to access them. [Section 4]

Fact sheet on closed containers (HTML | PDF; 319 kB)

What is residue?

Residue means any solid, liquid or sludge waste containing PERC. Examples may include lint, muck/sludge, solvent filters (cartridge and spin disk), still bottoms, etc. Waste water is not considered residue.

  • You cannot use spotting agents that contain PERC [section 3].

Requirements for PERC recovery from machines

  • You cannot use transfer machines (machines with separate drums for cleaning/extraction and drying/aeration) or self-service machines [sections 5(a) and 7].
  • Your machines must be equipped with a built-in refrigerated condenser and a PERC-water separator [sections 5(b) and 5(d)].
  • Your machines must not vent to the open air during the washing, extraction, drying and aeration cycles [section 5(c)].
  • You must use a closed direct-coupled delivery system for PERC delivery [section 10].
  • Machines installed after July 31, 2003, must have a manufacturer’s design PERC consumption rating equal to or less than 6.2 L (or 10 kg) of PERC per 1000 kg of clothing cleaned. Machines installed or in use prior to August 1, 2003, do not have to meet this consumption rating [section 5(e)].

PERC disposal practice requirements

  • Waste water that you do not treat on site and all residues must be transported to a waste management facility at least once a year [sections 8(1)(a) and 9(1)].
  • When you transport waste water and residue from a facility, you must include all waste water and residue you have at the facility [sections 8(2) and 9(2)].
  • If you treat waste water on site, the treatment system must have the equipment described in section 8(1)(b).

Fact sheet on waste removal (HTML | PDF; 350 kB)

Preventing spills

As an owner and/or operator of a dry cleaning facility, you have the obligation to prevent PERC spills. In the event of a spill, you must contain the spill and prevent PERC from getting into the environment by using a second containment system. This means placing the container or machine containing PERC inside another container that will contain any spills. Your secondary containers must:

  • be PERC-impermeable [section 5(f)(i)];
  • encompass at least the entire surface under each dry cleaning machine, tank or other container containing PERC, waste water or residue [section 5(f)(i)];
  • be large enough to hold at least 110% of the capacity of the largest tank or container placed inside it [section 5(f)(i)]. Tip: If there is more than one container, remember to account for any space in the containment system taken up by a machine or other containers, when calculating the size you require.
  • You must also keep PERC-resistant drain plugs readily available to seal all floor drains that PERC, waste water or residue could enter in case there is a spill [section 5(f)(ii)].

Fact sheet on secondary containment (HTML | PDF; 315 kB)
Fact sheet on PERC-resistant drain plugs (HTML | PDF; 377 kB)
Fact sheet on calculating 110% capacity (HTML | PDF; 355 kB)

Recording and reporting

Records you need to keep

If you own or operate a dry cleaning facility that uses PERC, you have to keep records concerning the purchase and disposal of PERC-containing waste, including receipts and accounting books. Other records may include journals, logs, letters, emails and other supporting documentation. Receipts and accounting book entries must be kept of:

  • every purchase of PERC
  • the shipping of waste water and residue to a waste management facility
  • the on-site treatment of waste water

How long you need to keep records

You need to keep these records for five years after the end of the year in which an annual report was filed (see below for more information on reporting). For example, if you purchased and disposed of PERC in 2009 and reported on these activities in 2010, you need to keep your records for a further five years, until the end of 2015.

How to file annual reports

Environment and Climate Change Canada provides a Mandatory Reporting Form for owners and operators of dry cleaning machines using PERC. This form must be filled out completely.

When you need to report

Annual reports must be filed with Environment and Climate Change Canada by April 30th of the following year.

Other reporting requirements that may affect you

If you are an owner and/or operator of a dry cleaning facility and import PERC for any reason or sell PERC to the owner or operator of a dry cleaning machine, there are additional record-keeping requirements with which you need to comply. See additional information for importers, sellers and recyclers.

Consequences if you do not comply

Failure to comply with the regulatory requirements, or the submission of false or misleading information, is an offence under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999 (CEPA 1999) and punishable under the Act. As of June 20, 2012, CEPA 1999 has a new fine scheme. Offences designated under the Regulations Designating Regulatory Provisions for Purposes of Enforcement (Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999) (“Designation Regulations”) that have direct harm or risk of harm to the environment, or obstruction of authority, are subject to an increased fine range following a successful prosecution. To see which sections of the PERC Regulations have been designated under the Designation Regulations, you can consult the Designation Regulations.

In addition, penalties can include fines, imprisonment, court orders and/or other enforcement measures. For further information, you can read the Compliance and Enforcement Policy for CEPA 1999 and examples of recent enforcement actions.

Other resources

Although care has been taken to ensure that this compliance promotion information accurately reflects the requirements of the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999 and the Tetrachloroethylene (Use in Dry Cleaning and Reporting Requirements) Regulations, the act and its regulations prevail over the text of this information in case of any discrepancies or inconsistencies. This compliance promotion information does not supersede or modify the act or the regulations. Please refer to the regulations to determine your full legal obligations.

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