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IBM Superfund Site Cleanup Approved

IBMIBM will perform a cleanup and reimburse EPA for past costs at the Shenandoah Road Groundwater Contamination Superfund site in East Fishkill, NY, under a legal agreement approved yesterday.

The site was previously used as an industrial cleaning operation involving IBM equipment. Chemicals used at the site were disposed of in a septic tank and pit on the property. Tests showed that 60 residential drinking water wells in the area exceeded acceptable levels for tetrachloroethene (PCE) and trichloroethene, which are volatile organic chemicals used in industrial solvents. Exposure to these chemicals can have serious health impacts, including an increased risk of cancer, the EPA says.

The Shenandoah site was placed on the EPA’s Superfund list of the nation’s most hazardous waste sites in 2001.

Most of the cleanup work at this site has been performed by IBM with the EPA oversight. Between 2001 and 2002, IBM entered into several agreements with the EPA to investigate and partially clean up the site, including excavating soil, installing a water line for affected residents and constructing a groundwater treatment system.

In 2012, the EPA finalized a cleanup plan for the site that requires the continued operation of a system that extracts and treats the groundwater, coupled with natural processes to reduce the contaminants in groundwater. The groundwater will continue to be periodically sampled to measure the effectiveness of both the groundwater extraction and treatment system and the natural processes. Prior to the legal agreement, IBM spent about $46 million on the cleanup of the site.

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