EPA Settles Claims with East Coast Operator

Posted November 14, 2014 at 2:19 pm

AmeriPride Services has joined the ranks of several other large industrial laundries on the East Coast that have reached settlements with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regarding Clean Air Act violations. AmeriPride will pay $75,000 to resolve EPA claims that the company had failed to seek air permits and control emissions between 1988 and 2013 when it installed new industrial washers and dryers in its Worcester, MA, and Hartford, CT, facilities, according to an EPA news release.

The release said that this equipment was used to launder shop and print towels, which can be significant sources of volatile organic compounds (VOCs). AmeriPride no longer launders shop or print towels at either plant, and the company cooperated with the EPA in reaching settlements at these two facilities, the release noted.

“The Hartford plant is no longer in operation and the Worcester plant no longer processes print towels, so this settlement is related to past operations only and does not reflect present and future permitting,” said Ben Saukko, spokesman for AmeriPride. “The fine is for the ‘potential to emit’ harmful emissions and there is no evidence that the plants were actually emitting harmful levels of VOCs. In fact, we believe that because we are a mixed laundry processing a relatively small amount of print towels, the emissions were not at a level that would meet the requirement for permits.”

AmeriPride operates more than 115 production facilities and service centers throughout the United States and Canada. The company is confident that the citations issued by the EPA for its New England operations are not a problem at its other facilities. “Through third-party auditing, we’re able to ensure that our operations meet or exceed the latest environmental standards,” Saukko said. “We are confident that we have the proper permits for our ongoing operations at other processing plants. AmeriPride also regularly tests the air quality and VOC emissions in the plant. In all testing, we were found to be in compliance and air quality was found to be within acceptable levels.”

If your plant is processing shop or print towels, TRSA has the following resources to help you ensure continuing compliance with EPA regulations:

  • TRSA’s Shop Towel Compliance Kit – Resources for launderers to stay in compliance with the EPA final rule, Conditional Exclusions from Solid Waste and Hazardous Waste for Solvent-Contaminated Wipes (40 CFR Parts 260 and 261).
  • Webinar: VOC Update – Hosted by TRSA’s Vice President of Government Relations Kevin Schwalb and TRSA Counsel John Wittenborn, this webinar explains the EPA's practices in contacting laundry plants on potential VOC emission violations and suggests how a facility's management should respond. 

For more information, contact Schwalb at 877.770.9274 or kschwalb@trsa.org.