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EPA Reaches Agreement with IBM to Perform Cleanup Work at Ground Water Contamination Site in East Fishkill

Release Date: 05/17/2001
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(#01055) NEW YORK, N.Y. -- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today announced it has signed an Administrative Order on Consent with International Business Machines (IBM) to complete a cleanup begun by EPA at the Shenandoah Road Ground Water Contamination site in the Town of East Fishkill. The site contains a plume of tetrachloroethane (PCE)-contaminated ground water, as well as soil contamination at a facility located at 7 East Hook Cross Road. EPA proposed the site for the federal Superfund National Priorities List (NPL) of the most contaminated sites in January 2001.

"The company has demonstrated its willingness to do this work by quickly reaching an agreement to undertake the cleanup, "Acting EPA Regional Administrator William J. Muszynski said. "Now, with EPA supervision, IBM will monitor and maintain the individual treatment systems installed on wells at affected residences and finish the work associated with the removal and off-site disposal of soil contamination at the site. We are pleased that IBM is cooperating with us," he added.

Based on EPA’s preliminary investigation, the ground water plume of PCE and other volatile organic compounds at the Shenandoah Road site appears to have come from a small facility where EPA believes a company hired by IBM cleaned microchip racks from the mid-1960s to the mid-1970s. The PCE plume has contaminated ground water that is used for household drinking water in the area around the facility.

Since June 2000, EPA has installed individual water treatment systems at 57 residences with contaminated private wells and upgraded the existing systems at three residences. In addition, EPA has removed over 1000 gallons of heavily contaminated liquid and sludge from a septic tank believed to be a source of the contamination. The Agency also excavated 1600 tons of soil contaminated by the leaking septic tank, which was subsequently transported off-site for disposal. Finally, a small building that once housed the chip rack-cleaning facility was demolished this spring, which allowed EPA to excavate approximately 4,000 cubic yards of underlying soil that was also contaminated.

As of April 2001, EPA’s quarterly monitoring showed that all the treatment systems are effectively removing the contaminants from the household water supplies. EPA is also monitoring the water quality in an additional 77 homes on the perimeter of the PCE plume in order to ensure that the well water continues to meet drinking water standards.

In the future, an investigation to determine the extent of the contamination and an evaluation of permanent cleanup options will be conducted.