Pollution prevention in Dry Cleaning and
Hydraulic Fracturing Industries
Dry cleaning centers produce some hazardous wastes such as water contaminated with cleaning solvent. Still, residues from solvent distillation, cooked powder residue, used up filler cartridges, spent solvent and empty solvent containers. This is due to the nature of the solvent used during the dry cleaning process. While this is an alarming situation, the cost of disposal of this kind of waste is quite pricey: if it is done to avoid damage to the environment. The same expense also applies to the hydraulic fracturing industry. These industries are seen to cause a considerable amount of air pollution thus to prevent the added expense; there is need to control the pollution right from the source by avoiding the production of the waste in the first place.
The viability of professional wet cleaning as a pollutants prevention opportunity to Perchloroethylene (PCE) dry cleansing suggests that almost all dry cleaners the world over make use of toxic PCE in their operation. The chemical, however, is associated with adverse effects both on the environment and human health such as respiratory diseases, neurotoxicity as well as various forms of cancer. The process involves a single unit handling both washing and drying. There is a refrigerated vapor condenser used to recycle air and a PCE sensor that prevents ‘shorting’ of a drying cycle.( Kovacs, 2001).Techniques of expert wet cleaning were developed as an alternative measure to counter the use of PCE dry cleaning but are yet to be integrated as a substitute technology (Sinshelmer et al., 2007). A demonstration showed that a switch to professional wet cleaning would bring along benefits such as energy efficiency, lower operating costs and a non-toxic zero-emission technology that would benefit the overall environment.
Hydraulic fracturing is a small part of the overall process of production of oil and gas carries’ with it some environmental issues such as chemical spillage to the surface, degradation of the quality of ground and surface water, reduced air quality among others. Mitigation measures have been developed and widely commercialized to counter these issues (Heywood, 2012). There is the idea of replacing water with carbon dioxide to force crude oil out of the wells, but technical challenges along with limited infrastructure have proven to hinder its adoption significantly. A solution may be to introduce federal laws compelling hydraulic companies to disclose fracturing fluid composition to allow future research to fill knowledge gaps for a better understanding of hydraulic fracturing impacts on health and environment (Chen, 2014).
A safer alternative by use of liquid carbon dioxide should be considered in the dry cleaning process due to it being environmentally safe. It also poses no health risk, lowers consumption, saves money and reduces environmental regulatory burdens. This is possible by introducing a liquid carbon dioxide as the principal solvent (Taylor, 2010). Why this may be a better solution is due to the ability to reduce waste generated by fracturing and also the possibility of lessening remaining monomer levels by online supercritical fluid extraction.
Concerning Epstein, (2012) Liquid carbon dioxide is an environmentally safe solvent in the case of dry cleaning that poses no health or environmental risks. Its use would be overall beneficial. There is already in existence a liquid carbon dioxide dry cleaning appliance that is fitted already with an ultrafine filtration system. In this, more than 98% of the carbon dioxide used during the cleaning cycle is recycled along with the non- hazardous cleaning detergent.
It should also be noted that carbon dioxide is a non-flammable nontoxic gas that occurs freely in the environment thus harnessing is made easier by that virtue. Liquid carbon dioxide sterilization is a system that uses pressurized liquid carbon dioxide along with other cleaning agents. This machine uses a big conventional rotating basket with a 60-pound cleaning capacity with a 40 minutes cleaning cycle
Chen, J., Al-Wadei, M. H., Kennedy, C.M., & Terry, P.D. (2014). Hydraulic fracturing: Paving the way for a sustainable future? Journal of Environmental and Public Health, 1-10.
Heywood, P. (2012). Fracking safer and greener? TCE: The Chemical Engineer, 850, 42-45.
Kovacs, D.C., Fischhoff, B., & Small, M.J. (2001). Perceptions of PCE use by dry cleaners and dry cleaning customers. Journal of Risk Research, 4(4), 354-355
Sinshelmer, P., Grout, C., Namkoog, A., Gottlieb, R., & Latif, A. (2007). The viability of professional wet cleaning as a pollution prevention alternative to perchloroethylene dry cleaning. Air and Waste Management Association. 57, 172-178.
Taylor, D.K, Carbonell, R., & Desimone, J. M. (2010). Oppotunies for pollution prevention and energy efficiency enabled by the carbon dioxide technology platform. Annual Review of Energy and the Environment, 25(1), 115-148.