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Southern Tier town's "toxic plume" reduced by 80 percent, says DEC

Matt Richmond
Department of Environmental Conservation maps showing the reduction of the toxic plume since 2004.

New York’s Department of Environmental Conservation has been working with IBM to clean up a chemical spill in the Southern Tier town of Endicott for years now. At a public meeting recently, officials from the DEC gave an update on one of the contaminated areas identified for cleanup.

According to New York’s Department of Environmental Conservation, the cleanup of the so-called toxic plume in Endicott is proving successful.

The toxic plume refers to the chemical contamination underneath and near the IBM chip manufacturing plant in Endicott. IBM pays a system that cleans the contaminated groundwater and sends it back into the aquifer. Ventilation is also used for contaminated homes.


At the DEC-sponsored meeting to update residents, Frank Roma of the Western Broome Environmental Stakeholders Coalition says IBM has done a good job -- so far -- in reducing the plume.

“My only concern at this point is that they don’t just leave it as it is. We need to continue pumping and treating,” said Roma.

The cleanup has reduced the toxic plume’s area by 80 percent since 2004. The DEC will continue using the system for an undetermined amount of time. Residents settled a lawsuit with IBM last month.

Matt Richmond comes to Binghamton's WSKG, a WRVO partner station in the Innovation Trail consortium, from South Sudan, where he worked as a stringer for Bloomberg, and freelanced for Radio France International, Voice of America, and German Press Agency dpa. He has worked with KQED in Los Angeles, Cape Times in Cape Town, South Africa, and served in the Peace Corps in Cameroon. Matt's masters in journalism is from the Annenberg School for Communication at USC.