Peter’s Drive-In Cleaners Ltd., located in London, Ontario, recently pleaded guilty in the Ontario Court of Justice to two counts of contravening the Tetrachloroethylene (Use in Dry Cleaning and Reporting Requirements) Regulations made pursuant to the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999. Peter’s Drive-In Cleaners Ltd. was fined $4,000 for each offence. In addition, Barbara Jovanovic, an owner of Peter’s Drive-In Cleaners Ltd., pleaded guilty to one count of contravening the regulations, and she was fined $2,000. The $10,000 in fines will be directed to the Environmental Damages Fund.
In June 2015, Environment and Climate Change Canada’s enforcement officers inspected the facility. The inspection revealed that wastewater containing tetrachloroethylene had not been transported to a waste-management facility and that records had not been maintained. Both acts are in contravention of the Tetrachloroethylene (Use in Dry Cleaning and Reporting Requirements) Regulations.
Tetrachloroethylene, also known as perchloroethylene or PERC, is a chemical used in Canadian dry cleaning. Tetrachloroethylene can enter the environment through the soil, where it can damage plants, and it can find its way into groundwater.
On March 29, 2000, tetrachloroethylene was added to the “List of Toxic Substances” in Schedule 1 of the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999. According to section 64 of the Act, a substance is classified as toxic if it may have an immediate or long-term harmful effect on the environment or if it may constitute a danger in Canada to human life or health.