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FORMER DRY CLEANER SITE CONTAMINATION LIABILITY

Historically, dry cleaning facilities used a liquid commonly referred to a "perc" as part of the dry cleaning process. As "perc" was used in the United States beginning in roughly the 1950s, if not earlier, and is still being used in dry cleaning equipment at the present time, the use of "perc" is both widespread and continuous dating back over 60 years. Unfortunately, although it was a chemical used for "cleaning" clothes, regulations have been enacted that limit the amount of "perc" that is legally allowed in soil, soil vapor and water. This has created the potential for liability at properties that currently have dry cleaning operations but also properties that used to have dry cleaning operations. The liability for the cleanup of some dry cleaning sites can exceed $1 million. Under the existing environmental laws, the current and former property owners and dry cleaning business owners all can have liability for the cost to clean up the contamination. Frequently, these cases can involve understanding the cost of cleanup, locating former property owners/operators and finding old insurance policies. Thus, the cases can be complex for the parties to try to allocate liability, determine the cost to cleanup and even finding the various parties and/or their estates. 

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