Part Of IBM Endicott Site Almost Decontaminated, But “Ground Zero” Remains


Seth Wenig/AP Photo

The IBM logo is displayed on the hardware for an IBM computer called "Watson." IBM was formed on June 16, 1911, as the Computing Tabulating Recording Co. in a merger of four separate companies. The new business with a plant in Endicott, N.Y., made scales, time clocks, cheese slicers and machines that read data stored on punch cards.

BINGHAMTON, NY (WSKG) – Thursday night was an incremental step in the decontamination process of the old IBM campus that’s expected to take years. The state presented a proposed method to do the final clean up at a building that’s much less contaminated than some of the others.

Nine people attended the public meeting in the lecture hall in Union-Endicott High School. A couple of these guys have been through a lot – they’re former IBMers who had friends and co-workers die from cancer.

Some were concerned if the air was contaminated or if the clean up underground was leading to sinkholes higher up. They came to hear the latest on the decontamination process.

Representatives from the State Department of Environmental Conservation and the Department of Health talked through the proposed method they’d arrived at for cleaning up the site called OU7, or Operational Unit 7. It’s on the other side of the train tracks from the Price Chopper.

DEC Proposal for OU7 by Monica on Scribd

The cleanup method would involve flushing the groundwater and doing natural processes using microbes. This is usually used when there’s low levels of contaminants left, according to the EPA.

It’s not set in stone – there’s a public comment period that lasts through March 26. After that, they could start work in about six months.

If it’s finalized, it’s expected to cost around $182,000 dollars. The state will ask IBM to pay for it. If IBM won’t, the state picks up the bill.

This clean up is close to done.

However, this OU7 site is much less contaminated than a couple of other sites, OU1 and OU2. They call those “Ground Zero.” The DEC expects to have have a list of possible remedies for ground zero near the end of the year.