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EPA National News: ADDITIONAL CLEAN WATER ACT REGULATION OF INDUSTRIAL LAUNDRIES UNWARRANTED
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ADDITIONAL CLEAN WATER ACT REGULATION OF INDUSTRIAL LAUNDRIES UNWARRANTED

FOR RELEASE: THURSDAY, JULY 1, 1999


ADDITIONAL CLEAN WATER ACT REGULATION OF
INDUSTRIAL LAUNDRIES UNWARRANTED


After careful consideration, EPA has concluded that national standards requiring treatment of wastewater from the nation’s 1,700 industrial laundries are not warranted, and that better environmental protection could be accomplished through pollution prevention at the source. Based on information from the late l980's, EPA identified industrial laundries as a potential source of hazardous waste solvents, primarily from solvent-laden rags from the automotive and printing industries. In l997, EPA proposed to require pretreatment of some wastewaters from industrial laundries prior to discharge to municipal wastewater treatment facilities. After reviewing new information regarding the volume and toxicity of the discharges, EPA has concluded that industrial laundry discharges are not a national problem warranting national regulation. The record demonstrates that wastewater treatment facilities are able to handle these wastes, and that any local problems can be resolved by local pretreatment authorities. EPA now believes the best way to reduce water discharges and air emissions of solvents and other organic pollutants is to pursue pollution prevention opportunities, such as removing the solvents before articles are washed. As a result, EPA is withdrawing the l997 proposal and not establishing a new regulation for the industry. In an effort to promote pollution prevention, EPA is working with the industrial laundries industry and other stakeholders to launch a strong, voluntary pollution prevention program that includes, in part, working with customers to reduce hazardous solvents at the source. A notice will be published in the Federal Register within the next two weeks, and on Thursday, July 1, EPA will post a fact sheet on the Internet: http://www.epa.gov/OST/guide. For further information, the general public can call Marta Jordan in EPA’s Office of Water at 202-260-0817.


R-69 ###

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