- Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection
Media Contact for Dry Cleaning Operation in Worcester Assessed $83,946 in Penalties for Violating Air Quality, Hazardous Waste and Waste Site Cleanup Regulations
Edmund Coletta, MassDEP – Director of Public Affairs
BOSTON – The Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) has assessed a total of $83,946 in penalties against the owner and operators of White & Brite Cleaners in Worcester for multiple violations of environmental regulations related to the operation of their dry cleaning business at 1256-1258 Main Street.
MassDEP has assessed a $62,098 penalty against Thuy Thi Tran, the owner and an operator of the dry cleaning business, and a $21,848 penalty against her son, Tam Vuong, an operator of the business. They were penalized for violating environmental regulations involving air quality, hazardous waste, waste site cleanup and the Environmental Results Program (ERP), and failing to address the violations in a timely manner.
A release of perchloroethylene (PCE) to the environment attributed to the dry cleaning business was discovered in 2007. Further testing in 2014 revealed that PCE vapors had infiltrated the indoor air in a multi-family building located on the dry cleaning property. At that time, MassDEP required White & Brite Cleaners to take immediate actions to address the exposure to residents of the building, but Ms. Tran and Mr. Vuong failed to take appropriate actions to mitigate the exposure to residents.
Several MassDEP inspections of the dry cleaning business continued to identify violations of the air quality and hazardous waste regulations, and the business also failed to submit Environmental Results Certifications to MassDEP in 2016, 2017 and 2018, as required of all dry cleaning operations.
In addition to the assessed penalties, MassDEP has ordered Ms. Tran and Mr. Vuong to address the levels of PCE in the indoor air at the multi-family residence at the site, to resume the required assessment and cleanup activities, and to take actions to comply with all air quality, hazardous waste management, and ERP certification regulations.
“Persons responsible for releases of hazardous materials to the environment must take prompt action to control the source of and to prevent, eliminate or mitigate exposure to contamination from such releases,” said Mary Jude Pigsley, director of MassDEP’s Central Regional Office in Worcester. “Dry cleaners that use or store hazardous materials or generate hazardous wastes must comply with specific hazardous waste, air quality and environmental certification rules to help prevent un-authorized releases of hazardous materials to the environment.”