Project title: Perchloroethylene Leak Detection: Evaluating Technical Capabilities and Usability of Vapor Leak Detectors
Completed in: 2013 | Faculty advisor: Michael G. Yost
While the use of perchloroethylene (PERC) as a cleaning solvent is falling out of favor due to health and environmental hazards, its use is still widespread throughout the dry cleaning industry. Federal law requires that dry cleaning facilities using PERC as a cleaning solvent perform routine leak checks using a halogenated hydrocarbon detector or PERC gas analyzer. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency estimates that as much as 25% of solvent emissions can be attributed to machine leaks. A recent study by the Local Hazardous Waste Management Program (LHWMP) in King County found that of the 154 dry cleaning businesses surveyed, the majority use PERC and do not own and use a leak detection device. Currently, there is a general lack of available information regarding leak detectors other than price and sensitivity. Information that a dry cleaning business might actually find helpful is even more lacking. The aim of the study was to provide a recommendation, or recommendations, about which readily available leak detector would best suit the needs of the dry cleaning industry. Results from this study will help shape how LHWMP provides technical and financial assistance to the dry cleaning industry.