Dry Cleaners & Solvent Remediation

We specialize in cleaning up sites with dry cleaning chemicals and other industrial solvents.

Dry cleaners require remediation most often because of the use of PCE (tetrachloroethylene). PCE use was prominent from 1960 to 2000, before dry cleaners switched to hydrocarbon-based cleaning solutions. In the first half of the 20th century, dry cleaners used carbon tetrachloride and Stoddard solvent, which also require remediation. Additionally, a lot of gas stations and automotive repair facilities used PCE and another common chlorinated solvent TCE (trichlorethylene).

To help guide cleanup action to case closure, Pangea references the Assessment Tool for Closure of Low-Threat Chlorinated Solvent Sites prepared in July 2009 by the SF Regional Water Board.  

Before and after of a dry cleaner site in Oakland, CA.


We frequently support dry cleaners with: 

  • Site characterization, involving investigation and sampling 
  • Soil remediation, involving excavation or vapor extraction 
  • Groundwater remediation, involving injection and extraction techniques 
  • Ongoing monitoring of groundwater, soil vapor, and indoor air 
  • Vapor intrusion mitigation  
  • Case closure pursuit  
  • Litigation support 

Passive gas sampling is a quick and inexpensive technique to  identify contamination hot spots and extent, commonly used at project beginning. Sample media is placed in the ground for 1-2 weeks before lab analysis.

We use the Membrane Interface Probe (MIP) system to gather high-resolution VOC and soil permeability data. The MIP system acts like an underground x-ray machine to locate, model, and remediate contamination.

Remedial injections and permeable reactive barriers (PRBs) are used to clean up contaminated groundwater, as an alternative to excavation or extraction remediation methods. Simultaneous injections at multiple locations controls cost.


For this busy dry cleaner, Pangea installed an active vapor extraction (SVE) and subslab depressurization (SSD) system to simultaneously remediate and mitigate PCE.

During slab replacement at this former dry cleaner, a vapor barrier and SVE-SSD system was installed to capture vapors and safeguard human health.

This shed-enclosed SVE-SSD system for includes a 4.6 hp blower, variable frequency drive, piping manifold, water knockout drum, and activated carbon. 


Funding for cleanup of dry cleaner impact was created in 2016 with the passage of California SB 445.  Pangea Principal Bob Clark-Riddell supported and assisted with legislation creating SB 445 as the Vice President of Legislative and Policy Affairs for the industry non-profit CORE Environmental LLC.  While the law primarily extended funding for UST cases, the stakeholders agreed to a small percentage (3%) of funding for non-petroleum such as dry cleaning chemicals and other releases. The new funding source was called the Site Cleanup Account Program (SCAP Fund). Most importantly, the SCAP Fund provided financial resources for the California Water Board and local agency staff to identify old dry cleaner sites and require owners to investigate and clean up contamination.  While funding applications have overwhelmed the SCAP Fund’s limited resources, Pangea can help you navigate the application process and potential benefits.