Case Study

Dry Cleaner & the Ecosystem

The dry cleaner is situated adjacent to Puget Sound and after decades in operation, the pollution was migrating to a natural disaster.



The dry cleaner had been in operation since the 1950s with 2 different owners. The location of the dry cleaner was across a narrow 2-lane road from the waterfront.

Unfortunately, the nature of the chlorinated solvents is to ‘sink’ in water and over the many decades and countless rainy days, the pollution had migrated underneath the roadway, attaching itself to utilities and threatening to enter the Sound.

Time was of the essence. To keep the impacts out of the Sound would require a large investment into the investigation and remediation of the growing plume of contaminants.

Process & Research


The current owner had purchased the business and property from the original owner in the early 2000s and they maintained a good relationship.

Upon taking ownership, the machines were replaced with a new system that operated on a liquid CO2 system. The good news was that the current operations were not contributing to the pollution.

The bad news, all of the files associated with the prior business had been destroyed in a basement flood a decade earlier.

Restorical Research was referred to the client by their attorney and we quickly set out to interview all of the parties. Our focus was to draw out details that could point us in the right direction.

After several months, we were able to piece together and recreate the original owners insurance coverage history. Using our proprietary database of specimen policies, we successfully assisted our clients legal counsel in ‘proving up’ the policies and obtaining insurance coverage.

Our clients environmental consultant, being fully funded, went to work to remediate the source and prevent the further spread of the migrating TCE and PCE in groundwater.

Our Results


The most immediate result was that the pollution did not enter the waterway, which meant that wildlife and habitat were protected.

The Client was able to continue operating their business and increase the value of their property.

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