Temco Uniforms Company Facility





In Rockland County, the site of the former Temco Uniforms facility tells a story of industrial ambition and environmental oversight. This 2.6-acre area, framed by Samsondale Avenue and shadowed by an active rail line, has transitioned from a bustling manufacturing hub to a focal point of environmental concern.


Originally developed in 1958, this single-story, 32,000-square-foot building was the birthplace of Modern Filters, Inc., a company dedicated to producing vacuum bags, tape, and labels. The industrial prowess of the era was palpable, as these products were essential to a booming post-war economy.


By 1985, the building took on a new life with Temco Uniform Company Inc., which transformed the space into a sophisticated facility for manufacturing, washing, and dry cleaning uniforms. For 17 years, the company was a cornerstone of the local economy, embedding itself in the fabric of the community until its operations ceased in May 2002.


However, the legacy of these operations has been marred by significant environmental issues. The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYDEC) has confirmed that the use of chemicals, particularly by Temco’s dry cleaning operations, has led to substantial soil and groundwater contamination. The primary culprit is perchloroethylene (PCE), a solvent widely used in the dry cleaning industry, known for its potential to harm the environment and human health.






The contamination doesn’t end with PCE. Its degradation products, along with petroleum compounds from a 6,000-gallon underground storage tank and a 275-gallon above-ground storage tank, have further compromised the site. These issues underscore a significant challenge: how to reconcile the industrial activities of the past with the environmental standards of today.


The environmental impact is profound. PCE and its byproducts have a notorious legacy, linked to liver and kidney damage in humans and classified as likely carcinogenic. The presence of these chemicals at the Temco site poses not just an immediate cleanup challenge but also a long-term public health concern.


Moreover, the petroleum residues highlight the risks associated with older fuel storage systems, which are prone to leaks and can create extensive soil and groundwater pollution. These challenges are a stark reminder of the importance of environmental diligence and the consequences of its absence.


Looking forward, the transformation of the Temco site is more than a cleanup operation; it is an opportunity to restore and rejuvenate. There is potential here to turn a story of neglect into a narrative of renewal. By addressing the contamination head-on, Rockland County can demonstrate how environmental rehabilitation can pave the way for sustainable development.


You can view older photos of this former washing and dry cleaning facility in my "T Uniform" post, linked here. This article represents my comprehensive historical write-up of the site. Despite extensive searches, environmental assessors and local business directories have uncovered little beyond the records of the two main companies that occupied this facility.






Sources:



1. (n.a). (2012, April 13). Cleanup Pending at Former Temco Site. TRSA

2. U.S. Industrial Directory: Telephone/address directory. (1985). United States: Cahners. p.255

3. MacRae's State Industrial Directory: New York State. (1994). United States: MacRae's Blue Book, Incorporated. p.14

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