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Settlement with EPA Spells Greener Future for Dry Cleaner on St. Thomas

Release Date: 09/18/2007
Contact Information: Rich Cahill (212) 637-3666, cahill.richard@epa.gov or Keshema Webbe (340) 714-2333, webbe.keshema@epa.gov

(New York, N.Y) In a settlement with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the owner of the One Hour Martinizing laundry and dry cleaning operation on St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands agreed to spend at least $40,000 on revamping operations to ultimately eliminate the use of a hazardous chemical at his Barbel Plaza facility. The owner will also pay a penalty of $5,000 for past violations of federal rules requiring him to identify and properly handle and dispose of hazardous waste. Under the terms of the agreement, the L’Henri, Inc. , the corporation that owns the business, agreed to phase in, over a two-year period, a new, hybrid-class of dry cleaning machinery that uses less toxic solvents for dry-cleaning and is significantly more energy efficient.

“We are changing the way dry cleaners operate on the islands,” said EPA Regional Administrator Alan J. Steinberg. ”Using these new environmentally-friendly systems benefits the delicate ecology of the Virgin Islands and will be good for the bottom line as well.”

In April 2005, EPA inspected the One Hour Martinizing facility for compliance with Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) regulations, which govern how business must handle hazardous waste. The Agency determined that the facility failed to properly designate wastes as hazardous wastes; stored and treated or disposed of its hazardous wastes without a permit; and failed to minimize the possibility of hazardous waste releases into the environment by mishandling the wastes. Releases of these materials can cause respiratory problems for workers, contaminate ground water and seriously damage marine environments. For more information about hazardous waste visit: http://www.epa.gov/epaoswer/osw/hazwaste.htm

The facility also improperly handled fluorescent light bulbs, which contain mercury. Mercury can be released into the environment when fluorescent bulbs are crushed during disposal. Fluorescent light bulbs can and should be recycled. As part of the agreement, the owner will no longer discard fluorescent light bulbs in the municipal trash. For more information on the proper disposal of mercury-containing bulbs in the U.S. Virgin Islands contact Lynda Garvin, Special Waste Coordinator, Virgin Islands Waste Management Authority at (340) 778-7657. For more information about the proper disposal of mercury-containing bulbs visit:
http://www.epa.gov/mercury/consumer.htm#flu and http://www.epa.gov/region02/waste/spent-lamp.pdf

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