Russell’s Dry Cleaners torn down after chemical leak


Photo by Maddy Engels

Russell’s Dry Cleaners, now removed and under construction, was located on the cross section of Main Street and West Jefferson Avenue in Downtown Naperville.

Marissa Laqui, Community Editor

Recent construction has been taking place throughout the Downtown Naperville area and one project specifically has caught the attention of most locals. Located on the corner of Main Street and West Jefferson Avenue next to Ted’s Montana Grill, a use-to-be Russell’s Dry Cleaners, the company has been torn down and is now under construction.

Russell’s Dry Cleaners has been part of the downtown community for over 50 years and began to have complications with the chemicals within the establishment. Many of the dry cleaning chemicals such as perchloroethylene (PERC) had seeped through the soil. Although it isn’t harmful to the public, it still caused a minor inconvenience and extended the amount of time the project would take.

Social studies teacher and faculty member Randall Smith believe the renovations should have come sooner.

“When they tore the building down, the chemicals that have been used for years, there had been leaks,” Smith said. “Those chemicals had leaked down into the soil from the cleaners from the chemical cleaning agents that they use. According to federal law, that had to be removed.”

The removal process required extracting roughly 18 feet of the soil extending the length of this project. Although the chemicals of the soil contaminated the surrounding parking spots they did not affect the surrounding establishments.

Naperville’s transportation director and city engineer William Novack agrees that this project is taking longer than anticipated considering the fact that this project started last summer.

“It’s taking longer than what we were lead to believe in the beginning,” Novack said. “We were disappointed in that.”

Although Novack cannot release the information on the new establishment being built, he shares his thoughts on the progress of this extended project.

“While it’s [construction] taking longer than what we hoped or guessed, I think the final product is going to be really nice,” Novack said.