At our inception 20 years ago, we chose to be different. Unlike other news organizations, we made the decision to provide in-depth, regional reporting free to anyone who wanted access to it. We don’t plan to change that model. Support from our readers will help us maintain and strengthen the editorial independence that is crucial to our mission to help make Western North Carolina a better place to call home. If you are able, please support The Smoky Mountain News.

The Smoky Mountain News is a wholly private corporation. Reader contributions support the journalistic mission of SMN to remain independent. Your support of SMN does not constitute a charitable donation. If you have a question about contributing to SMN, please contact us.

Dry-cleaning cleanup program celebrates 20 years of success

North Carolina’s Dry-Cleaning Solvent Cleanup Act Program has hit its 20th anniversary, and since that time the program has handled 466 reports of contaminated sites.

“The Dry-Cleaning Solvent Cleanup Act Program is an integral component in creating a healthy environment for future generations,” said Michael Regan, secretary for the N.C. Department of Environmental Quality. “It works to remove harmful soil and groundwater contamination to clean up areas so they can be used again for new businesses and helps small business owners continue to thrive, supporting North Carolina’s healthy economy.”

Of the 466 sites reported since 1997, 406 were certified into the program, allowing use of DSCA Program funds to clean them up. Currently, 283 sites are in active assessment or remediation, with 72 sites successfully remediated in the past 20 years and another 48 pending closure from the program.

The dry-cleaning process involves the use of solvents that can contaminate the surrounding environment. The DSCA Program cleans up contaminated sites and works with dry-cleaners to prevent future contamination. The legislation also created a fund to help with remediation.

One of the properties cleaned up so far is the former Crisp Cleaners site in Asheville, which was originally a gas station and then became a dry-cleaners and then a heating and cooling store. It became a certified site in 2012, with initial assessment showing contamination in soils and groundwater onsite. The DSCA Program worked with the owner to dig out contaminated soil, install a treatment system and ensure the new building would be safe for reuse. A restaurant opened on the site in 2016.

Go to top