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Court Approves EPA Agreement with IBM for Cleanup of Shenandoah Road Superfund Site in East Fishkill, NY Agreement Also Provides Reimbursement of EPA Costs
Release Date: 07/08/2014
Contact Information: Elias Rodriguez, (212) 637-3664, firstname.lastname@example.org
- (New York, N.Y.) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency today announced that a legal agreement with International Business Machines Corp. was approved on July 7, 2014 by the District Court for the Southern District of New York, under which IBM will perform a cleanup and reimburse EPA for past costs at the Shenandoah Road Groundwater Contamination Superfund site in East Fishkill, New York. 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.
“Ensuring that people have safe drinking water is essential to protecting public health and is an EPA priority,” EPA Regional Administrator Judith A. Enck. “This agreement ensures that the remaining cleanup work at the Shenandoah site will proceed and continue to protect this community.”
Between 1965 and 1975, J. Manne, Inc. rented a property at 7 East Hook Cross Road in East Fishkill and operated a facility there to clean and repair computer chip racks supplied to it under a contract with IBM. As part of this process, solvents, including PCE, were disposed of in a septic tank and an in-ground pit located at the property. Shortly after the discovery of PCE in residential drinking water wells, the Shenandoah site was placed on 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 EPA oversight. Between 2001 and 2002, IBM entered into several agreements with 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. Restrictions will be placed on the use of the property to ensure that the extraction and treatment system is not impacted. EPA's tests of indoor air quality in homes in the Shenandoah Road community continue to show no indoor air contamination.
The Superfund program operates on the principle that polluters should pay for the cleanups, rather than passing the costs to taxpayers. The EPA searches for parties legally responsible for the contamination at sites that are placed on the Superfund list and it seeks to hold those parties accountable for the costs of investigations and cleanups. Most of the cleanup is being performed by IBM and all of the work is done with oversight by the EPA. Prior to the legal agreement, IBM spent approximately $46 million on the cleanup of the site.
For more information on the Shenandoah Road Groundwater Contamination Superfund site, go to: https://www.epa.gov/region02/superfund/npl/shenandoah/.
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