A family-owned dry cleaner claims to offer “the highest level of custom dry cleaning and shirt laundry. We have earned our reputation for excellence, through our dedication to providing the finest service.” However, the claim apparently did not extend to environmental performance. Environment Canada reports that in July 2012 the Company was found to be improperly storing and containing tetrachloroethylene (also known as perchloroethylene or PERC) waste water and residue.
In a negotiated resolution agreement the Company was fined $60,000, to be paid to the Environmental Damages Fund, and must publish an article regarding the results of their case in a textile industry magazine.
The high fine was the result of new penalties under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act which were adopted in June 2012. Environment Canada states that this is one of the first cases in which the new higher minimum fines were imposed.
The risk of getting caught under federal environmental regulations may be declining. Environment Canada reports 28 successful prosecutions in 2009, 40 in 2010, 39 in 2011, 26 in 2012, and 7 so far this year . However, there does appear to be a trend of increased penalties for those cases that are successfully prosecuted.
Details of the dry cleaner case, of other successful Environment Canada prosecutions, may be found at http://www.ec.gc.ca/alef-ewe/default.asp?lang=En&n=8F711F37-1