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Texas Will Take $2.1M to Clean Up After Cleaners

HOUSTON (CN) - A dry-cleaning company will pay Texas and Harris County $2.1 million to settle claims that it contaminated groundwater.

Harris County Attorney Vince Ryan called the deal "the largest judgment ever in a dry pollution case" involving a Texas county.

In the lawsuit, Harris County and Texas sued PMSV River Oaks LP and SF Properties LLC, the current and former owners of the Houston site, and Brazos Valley Hallmark Cleaners, which ran a drying cleaning business there from 1976 to 1997.

"Contamination of the soil and groundwater was first confirmed in 1996," the complaint states.

Groundwater testing at the site allegedly found higher than accepted levels of tetrachloroethene, a colorless liquid used for dry cleaning, and a known carcinogen; trichloroethene, an industrial solvent; vinyl chloride; and 1,2-dichloroethene, a solvent used for polymers, fats, waxes and resins that harms the central nervous system in high concentrations.

Harris County and Texas will equally split the settlement money.

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