Critiquing IBM Cleanup Progress

By Erika Mahoney

September 27, 2012 Updated Sep 28, 2012 at 9:18 AM EDT

Endicott, NY (WBNG Binghamton) As the cleanup of IBM continues in Endicott, several residents said they are concerned about their health, particularly the air they breath.

A representative from the Department of Environmental Conservation appeared before the Western Broome Environmental Stakeholders Coalition, on progress of a decades old cleanup of toxic chemicals.

According to the DEC representative, since the cleanup began in 1980, over 800,000 pounds of chemicals have been removed.

While he said that is a significant amount of progress, there are still decades ahead of work.

But as this cleanup process continues, some residents said they are concerned about their health.

Former IBM employee and longtime Endicott resident Mark Bacon said he has not only seen his house transformed by ventilation systems and wells, but his entire hometown.

Bacon says he is frustrated with the DEC for not conducting air tests.

"There are 480 stacks in this whole area here, ventilation systems on these houses," said Mark Bacon. "They could have a charcoal filter on them, so nobody is breathing TCE, but [instead] they're just pumping it out of here and figuring it blows away. But on these foggy mornings, being by the river, it's just hanging there, and they will not test the air. There's a reason for that, because they know what it is going to show, especially on a foggy morning."

Meanwhile, the DEC representative said the DEC Division of Air conducted a clean test in 2003 that showed there would not be future problems.

"We see no reason that the emission from the stack from all the vapor intrusion mitigation systems should impact the health of the residents of Endicott," said Engineering Geologist Alex Czuhanich. "And we've had the Health Department verify that."

Bacon said he hopes Village of Endicott residents join him in his fight for air testing.

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