California Air Resources Board Enacts Perc Phase Out

New Regulation Ends Sale of Perc Machines, Begins Phase Out in 2010

On January 24th, the members of the California Air Resources Board considered the staff proposal to amend the current Air Toxics Control Measure as it relates to dry cleaning. As we communicated to the membership, this proposal included a phase out of perc by the year 2023.

During the public testimony members of California’s various environmental activist organizations pushed hard for phasing out perc by 2010 and fought to create a rule that would prevent cleaners from operating in residential neighborhoods or within 300 feet of schools or health facilities. This proposal was rejected.

After more than four hours of public testimony, CARB member Dorene D’Adamo proposed a change to the proposed rule that would have phased out perc by 2020 and have ceased the sale of perc dry cleaning machines before the end of 2007. Due to the lobbying efforts of CCA staff, our lobbyist Mike Belote and our immediate Past President Lynnette Watterson, Ms. Adamo’s proposed changes were not approved by a majority of the members of the California Air Resources Board.

When public testimony was over, the board held their own discussion of the proposal to amend the ATCM, the economic impacts upon cleaners and the impacts to the consumers and then voted to unanimously adopt the proposed changes.

The California Cleaners Association thanks all the members who took the time to travel to Sacramento and speak to the impacts of this regulation on their businesses and to the industry as a whole. It is only because of our members involvement through contributing formal comments, contacting board members to discuss their thoughts and speaking at the CARB hearing that we were able to educate the board about what it means to be a dry cleaner in California, the need to continue to use our machines for their useful life and to provide a lengthy period for cleaners to plan any transition.

Frequently Asked Questions About the California Air Resources Board's Perc Phase Out


Who is Impacted by the New ATCM?
Any cleaner using perc who is not currently located within the South Coast Air Quality Management District.

How Long Can I Use My Perc Machine?
The answer depends on your location and the generation of your machine.

Co-residential cleaners (cleaners whose plant shares a wall, floor or ceiling with a residence of any type) must remove their perc machine from service by July 1, 2010. No new perc machines may be installed in co-residential cleaners. This applies to ALL perc machines regardless of their generation.

Cleaners who are not co-residential must remove their perc machines from service starting on July 1, 2010. On July 1, 2010 any cleaner operating a perc machine that is 15 years of age or older must remove their machine from service. After July 1, 2010 cleaners must remove their machines when they reach 15 years of age. Under this schedule, the last perc machines will be removed from service by January 1, 2023. This applies
to primary, add-on secondary control and integral secondary control machines.

What Happens if I Move My Plant and My Existing Perc Machine?
If an existing cleaner moves to a new location but remains within their same air district then they can continue to use their perc machine until July 1, 2010 or 15 years of age (whichever comes later). However, any cleaner who relocates to a new location outside of their current air district will be treated as a new facility and prohibited from operating any perc machine.

Will Perc Machines Still Be Sold or Leased in California?
No perc machines may be sold or leased after January 1, 2008.

Does This New Rule Eliminate the Current Perc Tax?

No, the perc tax will still be assessed on each gallon of perc sold. Of course, as more perc machines are removed from service less revenue will be collected from this tax.

I Operate in the South Coast Air Quality Management District. Does This Mean I Have Until the Year 2023 to Use My Perc Machine?
No. Local air districts can formulate their own regulations as long as they meet the state regulations. What this means is that they can make their regulations stricter than the state. As such, their perc phase-out date of the year 2020 still stands.

Can I Get Assistance Money From the State to Transition to a Non-Perc Machine?
Currently, CARB operates a grant program funded by the perc tax to assist cleaners who wish to transition to nonperc technologies. Under the legislation which created this
grant program only technologies found by CARB to be “non toxic and non smog forming” are eligible. This has been interpreted by CARB to mean only CO2 and professional wet
cleaning technologies are eligible. To apply for these grant funds, please contact Hafizur Chowdhury at the California Air Resources Board in Sacramento.

South Coast Air Quality Management District Delivers Perc Usage Limit Letters to Cleaners

The same week that the California Air Resources Board enacted a perc phase-out, the South Coast Air Quality Management District mailed official letters to its perc cleaners
outlining their annual perc usage limits and machine requirements as mandated
under their Rule 1402.

By November 1, 2007 all perc cleaners in the SCAQMD must operate machines with primary and secondary controls. Cleaners who do not have secondary controls must either add on computerized secondary controls, purchase a new perc machine or replace the machine with a non-perc machine by November 1, 2007.

Additionally, under SCAQMD Rule 1402, cleaners who use perc must meet the air district’s risk limits for perc exposure. This risk limit is defined as a 25 in a million or less risk level. SCAQMD cleaners each received letters outlining the amount of perc allowed to be used per year. Cleaners who do not wish to accept the annual perc usage limits must replace their current perc machine with a nonperc machine within three years of the date on your official SCAQMD letter. Exceeding your annual usage limit can result in fines or penalties.

All SCAQMD perc cleaners must submit their risk reduction plan and the appropriate permit fees to the air district. Discounted permit fees are available for cleaners who meet certain
“small business” requirements. For more information, contact SCAQMD at (909)


Frequently Asked Questions

About the South Coast Air Quality Management District's Perc Usage Limit and Risk Reduction Plan


How Many Cleaners Are Impacted?
According to SCAQMD staff, the perc usage limits impact approximately 1,300 cleaners.

When Does the Annual Perc Usage Limit Take Effect?
Upon returning your risk reduction plan to SCAQMD, staff will reissue the permit to operate your perc machine. If you accepted your perc usage limit, this will be reflected as a condition of your permit. If you stated that you will be replacing your machine with a non-perc alternative within 3 years, that will be a condition of your permit. Your perc usage limit should begin once your new permit is issued.

Please note that your current perc machine will still have to have primary and secondary controls.

Are the Annual Usage Limits Based on a Calendar Year or Is It 365 Days From My Permit Change Date?
As of March 12th, SCAQMD staff was unsure if annual perc usage limits would be determined on a calendar year basis (January 1st through December 31st) or on a 365 day basis (365 days from the date they changed your permit).

How Are Annual Perc Purchases Determined?
SCAQMD wil be determining annual perc purchases using the records kept by dry cleaners. Currently, they do not plan on requiring sales records from suppliers but can request them at any time.

What If I Indicated I Would Replace My Machine With a Non-Perc Technology But Change My Mind?
What you indicated in your risk reduction plan is a binding condition of your permit to operate and, once submitted to SCAQMD, cannot be changed. Also, if you choose to sell, your permit and the conditions attached will transfer to the new owner.

In the South Coast Air Quality Managment District, which Technologies Do Not Need A Permit?
Currently, SCAQMD only allows CO2, GreenEarth and professional wetcleaning machines to be operated without a permit. All other dry cleaning technologies need a permit.

If you plan on changing to a technology that does not require a permit, be sure to let SCAQMD know. By cancelling your exisiting perc permit, you could be saving yourself some money.

Please note, that regulatory agencies have been known to change their mind on these issues so we always recommend calling to verify permit requirements before purchasing and installing any new dry cleaning machine.


California Cleaners Association • 2520 Venture Oaks Way, Suite 150 • Sacramento, CA 95833
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