Does dry cleaner remediation always have to come with dirty air issues?
Posted May 25, 2020
remediation dry cleaners

NO, and we will explain why….

From the outside, a dry cleaner is just a place to launder delicate clothing – but inside, if improperly managed, the specialty solvents used to clean your clothing are actually contaminating both soil and groundwater. As these toxic contaminants seep into the subsurface, they create environmental liabilities along with health and safety concerns to occupants, employees, neighbouring businesses, and families. Without addressing these concerns, health and safety concerns grow, as do costs, and in the event of redevelopment, investors and owners alike are at risk due to these liabilities.

The chemicals causing the biggest concerns are organic halides or, chlorinated solvents such as Perchloroethylene (PCE) and its associated ‘daughter’ products Trichloroethylene (TCE), Dichloroethylene (DCE) and the bad guy for air, Vinyl Chloride (VC). All of these compounds can be biodegraded but it takes years, even decades without assistance to hasten the pace. This ability to persist for decades and resist degradation is what creates chemical pollution, persistent health and cancer concerns.

Vinyl Chloride especially is one step from final degradation, and with it comes properties that allow it to be extremely volatile; able to easily pass through the subsurface, even capable of penetrating foundations to create indoor ambient air concerns.

And of equal importance, the costs associated with remediation over decades can be in the millions, when that money could’ve been better spent in growing a business, facilitating and education, anything but remediating a site to allow occupancy.

Did you know that the average time frame for the remediation of a dry cleaner is 7-15 years, if not longer? But, with TerraStryke’s biostimulation products you can shave years off remediation time and realize on-site compliance in less time than any other product out there.

TerraStryke’s additives have demonstrated the ability to realize complete solvent degradation after ONE full-scale deployment event, typically realizing a decade or more of sustainable reducing conditions within the amended zone. For instance, in Burlington Ontario, Canada, what was estimated by other remediation companies to take 15-plus years and $750,000, took less than FOUR years to realize on-site compliance using TerraStryke’s biostimulation additive ERDenhanced™. No cis-stall, no ambient air concerns, and after a SINGLE full-scale deployment event!

TerraStryke is a U.S.-based company that develops and distributes biostimulation additives which nourish indigenous microbial populations and enhances the habitat in which they reside. Each additive is proven to cost-effectively expedite the destruction of organic contaminants, safely and completely, with minimal equipment, minimal site impacts, and maximum long-term performance.

TerraStryke’s flagship products – TPHenhanced™ and ERDenhanced™ – have been used to effectively remediate gas stations, manufacturing facilities, residential properties, and, of course, dry cleaning facilities.

So, how is this actually possible?

To answer the question, let’s look at the TerraStryke case study mentioned above. The site was a former suburban dry cleaner located at the end unit of a strip mall. Both soil and groundwater contamination issues were present due to 40 years of past site use. Obtained through bankruptcy, the new owner wished to redevelop the property to allow occupancy but needed to remediate the subsurface soil and groundwater conditions first, at potentially great expense.

Specifically, the one-time deployment of ERDenhanced™ resulted in a >99% reduction in total chlorinated volatile organic compounds (cVOCs) at the site, and a >99% reduction in molar mass of the parent cVOC Tetrachloroethene (PCE), demonstrating enhanced microbial source zone depletion of the residual DNAPL.

“The most striking observation is, because we harness what Mother Nature has been doing since life began, our processes happen with minimal impact and maximum sustainability. As such, our methods are proven ideal cost-effective remedial solutions for the redevelopment of current, legacy and/or remote site locations,” says Kent Armstrong, founder of TerraStryke®.

TerraStryke’s biostimulation strategy transformed the site so effectively that the owner was able to initiate redevelopment and begin operations as a bakery. Yes, that needs to be repeated: A BAKERY was able to open, safely, on the same grounds, four years after the one-time deployment of its product ERDenhanced™.

The site immediately increased in value by over 200%, became a functional space, optimizing investment dollars while allowing a family business to open and operate. Overall, it saved the property owner at least 10 years in remediation efforts and over $500,000 in anticipated remediation costs.

Read the full case study here:

Here’s a quick summary of the incredible transformation:

The Site: A former dry cleaner located in Ontario, Canada.

Background info: Obtained through a bankruptcy, the owner wished to remediate subsurface soil/groundwater conditions to allow redevelopment and re-occupancy. Concentrations of cVOC contaminants present in highly weathered shale with significant residual mass present. Principal contaminant-of-concern Tetrachloroethylene (PCE), minimal daughter products, with total [cVOCs] ≤150,000 ug/L.

Product used: TerraStryke ERDenhanced™ is designed to leverage untapped biogeochemical principles that facilitate the destruction of organic halides such as tetrachloroethene (PCE), trichloroethene (TCE), 1,1,1-trichloroethane (1,1,1-TCA), PCBs, Dioxins and other recalcitrant organic compounds simply by enhancing native microbial communities.

Process: Based on the results of a 2011 on-site proof-of-concept study, a voluntary biostimulation program was implemented by the owner in 2014. Using a subslab infiltration gallery, an approximate 12% additive slurry (4,224 pounds additive to equal parts water with a viscosity like milk) was gravity-fed to the subsurface.

Eighteen months after deployment, total concentrations of PCE and all daughter products decreased by ≥99% within the amending plume, which at the time extended a minimum ≈65-70ft downgradient of the amending gallery.


  • ERDENHANCED™ amended wells averaged >96.9% REDUCTION in total [cVOC] contaminants after 2 years.
  • ERDENHANCED™ expedited mass destruction with average >99% reduction in P:D Ratio.
  • ERDENHANCED™ creates decades of safe, sustainable reducing conditions to realize complete cVOC biotransformation.
  • Remedial strategy shaved 10 years off original remediation strategy and saved the Owner >$500,000in costs; allowing expedited redevelopment, occupancy and the realization of positive revenues for property owner, the city, through the establishment of a new store.

Have questions? Do you have a site that needs remediation? Would you like to save time, money and impact? Connect with Kent to discuss how TerraStryke can help you answer these questions, solve your remediation concerns and allow you to realize peace of mind and revenues from your site sooner rather than later.

Peruse our website for more information or connect with Kent at