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September 2004

Consent Order with IBM on Endicott Clean-up Established

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Erin M. Crotty announced that DEC and IBM have entered into a consent order that requires IBM to investigate and remediate contamination in the village of Endicott and town of Union, Broome County.

In February 2004, DEC reclassified the IBM Endicott site to a Class 2 State Superfund site. The reclassification occurred as a result of new information regarding groundwater contamination and soil vapor intrusion into structures in the area over the groundwater plume. A Class 2 site is a site at which hazardous waste constitutes a significant threat to the public health or environment.

The consent order provides a blueprint for IBM’s further investigation and cleanup of the contamination at and in the vicinity of the site. The consent order specifically requires IBM to undertake the following:

•A Supplemental Remedial Investigation and Focused Feasibility Study Program for seven operable units that will identify and evaluate previously unknown or insufficiently evaluated potential sources of pollution at and in the vicinity of the site and develop and implement appropriate cleanup measures;
•Four Interim Remedial Measures (IRMs) to immediately address known environmental contamination at and in the vicinity of the site. An IRM is a set of planned actions that can be conducted without extensive investigation and evaluation and are designed to be part of the final remedy for a site. The Consent Order gives DEC the authority to require additional IRMs, as appropriate, and sets forth specific IRMs to be undertaken by IBM as follows:

1. An enhanced groundwater pump-and-treat system to capture contaminants on site at a source zone along the railroad tracks;
2. Groundwater pump and treat system south of North Street between Grant and Garfield Avenues to capture contaminants moving off site-and to reduce the plume size west of the well location;
3. A groundwater pump-and-treat system with reinjection of clean groundwater in the southern area at a location to be determined after further investigation and testing; and
4. Plume control in the bedrock with a new groundwater recovery well in the vicinity of the cafeteria.

•The complete investigation of on-site source areas and implementation of a remedial action for each source area if necessary;
•The development and implementation of a Comprehensive Operation, Maintenance and Monitoring Plan which will provide for the continued operation and maintenance of a number of activities commenced pursuant to IBM’s RCRA permit, and operate and maintain all elements of the comprehensive remedy to be developed for the site; and
•The reimbursement of oversight costs incurred by the State on and after January 1, 2004.

Village of Endicott Mayor Joan Hickey Pulse said, “All of us wish that we didn’t have this problem to deal with. But I am pleased that IBM has willingly stepped forward to perform all of the work that it has already done and will continue to do. This is another example of how by working together, we can accomplish a lot.”

Wayne Balta, Vice President of IBM Corporate Environmental Affairs and Product Safety said, “IBM is pleased to complete this consent order. It organizes the work IBM has been performing under its RCRA permit, the groundwater vapor project action plan, and the recommendations of the Supplemental Groundwater Assessment. It is more efficient to have the scope of our work outlined in one place at the same time it does not affect the way in which IBM has been or will be performing the work in Endicott.”

IBM is the former owner and operator of a 140-acre industrial facility located on North Street in Endicott and Union. IBM acquired the facility through a series of acquisitions spanning over 90 years from Endicott Johnson Corporation, Walter L. Johnson Company, Ideal Cleaners, railroad companies and small businesses. Leaks and spills of pollutants at the facility resulted in soil and groundwater contamination at and in the vicinity of the site. Trichloroethene (TCE), 1,1,1-trichloroethane (also known as methyl chloroform or TCA), tetrachloroethene (also known as PCE or perc), methylene chloride, freon 113, benzene, toluene and xylene are among the contaminants identified at the site. Beginning in 1979 and continuing to the present, DEC and IBM have conducted investigations and implemented remedial measures to address the contamination.

Based on a growing understanding of contaminant vapor mitigation, in 2002 DEC required IBM to investigate the potential for contaminant vapors to migrate from the groundwater and enter buildings above. Since January 2003, IBM has been sampling indoor air at buildings in the village of Endicott to evaluate the extent to which vapor migration from the groundwater contaminant plume has impacted indoor air in the buildings above it.

The investigation has proceeded in phases, starting in the area where the concentrations of solvents in the off-site groundwater plume are greatest, and moving to areas where the concentrations are lower. As of July 30, 2004, the company has identified approximately 480 structures, which have been offered mitigation systems, and nearly 470 systems have been installed on 418 properties.

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