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Drycleaning Operations

​​​Commercial cleaning of garments is primarily done by dry cleaning methods that use a non-aqueous solvent.  Two cleaning solvents have dominated the dry cleaning industry -- perchloroethylene and hydrocarbon solvent.  However, several alternative cleaning processes and solvents have emerged that include, but not limited to: high flash point petroleum solvent, carbon dioxide (CO2), volatile methyl siloxane (D5), propylene glycol ether, n-propyl bromide, and water-based cleaning system such as professional wet cleaning.

Perchloroethylene (perc) is the most widely used cleaning solvent in commercial dry cleaning because of its physical and chemical properties.  In 1991, however, the California Air Resources Board (CARB) identified perc as a toxic air contaminant (TAC) associated with environmental and human health risks.  In the same year, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA) added perc in the Section 112 Hazardous Air Pollutants (HAP) list.  Then in 1996, the U.S. EPA removed perchloroethylene from the definition of volatile organic compound (VOC), thus classifying perc as an exempt compound.  Notwithstanding its status as an exempt solvent, perc dry cleaning facilities are still regulated because of their potential adverse health effects.

In December of 2007, CARB amended the Dry Cleaning ATCM to:

  • Prohibit the installation of new Perc dry cleaning machines beginning on January 1, 2008

  • Eliminate the use of existing Perc machines at co-residential facilities (facilities that share a wall with, or are located in the same building, as a residence) by July 1, 2010

  • Require that converted machines, and machines that are 15 years or older, be removed from service by July 1, 2010.

  • Require that all Perc machines be removed from service once they become 15 years old (as a result, all remaining Perc machines must be removed from service by January 1, 2023); and

Who Needs a Permit?

  • A permit is required for the following:

    •  Any new or existing dry cleaning operation that uses perchloroethylene, stoddard, or any other cleaner containing VOCs or toxic air contaminants.

    • Any dry cleaning operation that will emit toxic air pollutants or VOCs at levels greater than or equal to 2 pounds in any 24 hour period.

    • Each dry cleaning machine will be permitted individually (one permit per machine).

    • Examples of  cleaning agents that do not require a permit are carbon dioxide (CO2), volatile methyl siloxane (D5), and water-based cleaning systems.

Permit Fees 

New Installations: 

  • Use Schedule 9 of the District's general fee rule (see Rule 301, Section 308.10).  Fees are based on the Miscellaneous equipment schedule.  Each dry cleaning machine requires a permit.


  • For modifications, the fee shall be based on Rule 301, Section 306.2.

Equipment Installed Without an Authority to Construct: 

  • As per Section 302.1 of Rule 301, any person installing/operating regulated equipment without obtaining a permit from the Sac Metro Air District will be required to pay permit renewal back fees for each year of unpermitted operation, to a maximum of 3 years, in addition to the initial permit fee. 

Permit Application Completeness Determination

An application will not be accepted for processing until it is deemed complete. The following will be required in order for the Sac Metro Air District to make a completeness determination.

  • Completed application Forms  G100, G101DC100, and HRA100 with the original signature of the owner/proprietor or responsible officer of the company.

  • The applicable permit fee in accordance with Rule 301.

  • Any additional information that may be requested in order to perform a health risk assessment or to better understand the process or the applicability of regulations.

 Documents / Forms



PERC Dry Cleaning Advisory Dry Cleaning AdvisoryAdvisories
Application Instructions - DC100 Instructions - DC100.pdfApplication Instructions - DC100Application Instructions
DC100 - Drycleaning Operations - Drycleaning OperationsPermit Application Forms
G100 - General Application Form - General Application FormPermit Application Forms
G101 - General Information - General InformationPermit Application Forms
HRA100 - Health Risk Assessment Form - Health Risk Assessment FormPermit Application Forms

Related Rules

Rule Date Last Amended
Permitting Page
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