TRENTON, N.J. — State legislators are considering delaying a proposed phaseout of perchloroethylene for two years to give operators time to convert to alternative processes. The current proposal would ban perc use in “colocated” drycleaning plants next year, and eliminate the solvent entirely by 2021.
Bob Smith, a Democrat and chair of the State Senate’s Environment Committee, says legislators may ease the terms of the plan to give drycleaners more time to qualify for state loans to buy alternative machinery. “Our DEP is maybe being a little too proactive here,” Smith told NorthJersey.com.
State Senator Gerald Cardinale, a Republican committee member, has proposed more modest measures, such as a ban on the sale of any new perc machines.
About 1,600 drycleaners in New Jersey use perc, which federal regulators named to its list of the state’s Top 10 airborne toxic substances. The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) adds that more than 250 sites in the state may have some level of soil or groundwater contamination.