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DEC Hearing on IBM Cleanup Draws Small Crowd

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About nine people turned out Thursday night for a Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) public hearing on a remediation plan to clean up hazardous waste at a former IBM Endicott building (Operable Unit 7). The site is located west of Oakhill Ave and the railroad tracks.

Detailing the proposed remedy to the affected area, DEC officials, alongside health and human service workers, fielded questions and comments from the concerned citizens that did attend the public hearing.

Using a remedial action that will continue to use a pump system to flush contaminated groundwater and further decrease the pollution level, site cleanup managers are creating an adequate solution that is suitable for drinking water for years to come.

"We know the ground water that's provided to the residents now meets the drinking water standards, the health department tells us it's fine to drink," said Kevin Farrar, DEC Environmental Remediation Geologist.

Farrar insists that the pumps (biological degradation) flushing the underground water will have no negative effects on the public.

According to a survey submitted by the DEC, the entire contaminated spill site encompasses roughly a 3-mile area. Below is the highlighted assessment of Operable Unit 7.

This portion of the site will still be monitored for 10 years after the proposal's approval, according to Farrar. Making sure the DEC achieved the wanted standard over time, an assessment report will be provided every five years.

Officials said the estimated State Superfund site's proposal will cost an estimated $182,000. A small amount in comparison to the level of need, said one concerned citizen.

"I care about this site and I care about the community I live in," said Valdi Weidarpass. "We need to boost our attention at a local and state level."

But although the former IBM Endicott building (Operable Unit 7) area may be deemed safe for consumption, groundwater areas located at or near the manufacturing plant located at the current BAE systems are still contaminated.

"This portion of the site we're still going to monitor for a number of years to make sure we've achieved the standards over time," said Kevin Farrar.

The public is still encouraged to add their input to the proposal until March 26. Any questions or comments about the cleanup for Operable Unit 7 can contact:

Project Related Questions: Jessica LaClair (DEC), phone - (518) 402-9821  email - jess.laclar@dec.ny.gov

Site-related Health Questions: Julia Kenney (NYS Department of Health), phone - (518) 402-7860  email - BEEI@health.ny.gov