Fishkill Ridge
Community Heritage

IBM Will Build Water System, But Will Residents Be Stuck With The Upkeep?


Waterfall Poughkeepsie Journal
Thursday, September 16, 2004

IBM will build water system for polluted E. Fishkill areas
By Dan Shapley

SHENANDOAH -- East Fishkill residents whose water was contaminated by a microchip-cleaning chemical will have clean water piped in from the Town of Fishkill at a cost to IBM Corp. of $10 million, the Environmental
Protection Agency announced Wednesday.

The water system will take about 2 1/2 years to construct, an estimate that tacks on four months to the last stated estimate. IBM will now begin to design the system, company spokesman Steve Cole said.

''We're glad to finally have the EPA make the decision so we can get to work on getting a good water source to the people in the Shenandoah area,'' he said.

An IBM contractor, Jack Manne Inc., allegedly dum-ped tetrachloroethylene, known as PCE, in the late 1960s and early 1970s from a workshop on East Hook Cross Road, where it was using the chemical to cleanse IBM microchip racks.

Groundwater at risk

PCE naturally degrades into trichloroethylene, which also pollutes groundwater.

The groundwater pollution was discovered in 2000. Since then, 103 homes have had filters installed to cleanse water for drinking, bathing and cooking. IBM is maintaining those filters and assumed many of the costs of addressing the pollution.

A government assessment found people who drank tainted water from Shenandoah for many years may face a greater risk of cancer.

The EPA proposed a connection to the Town of Fishkill well fields to be drilled on Snook Road in November 2003. Wednesday's announcement made that decision final.

The announcement didn't please every resident. Denis Callinan, an outspoken critic of IBM and often the EPA, was dismayed the decision took this long, and was concerned that the new water source be protected.

''There's a third point,'' he said. ''In my estimation, there is absolutely no reason in this world why the residents of the Shenandoah IBM Superfund site should have to pay a dime toward the operation and maintenance of this water system.''

Assuming 80 gallons per day per person, a household would pay $166.44 per person per year, based on EPA estimates from last year.

IBM and the EPA are still negotiating whether residents or IBM will be responsible for ongoing operating and maintenance costs for the water system, EPA spokesman David Kluesner said.

There are attacks on our water on a regular basis. Why are we not demanding the parties responsible for the mess be responsible for the clean up... whatever it takes? Or, prevent the mess in the first place! The following are just a few of the articles, public opinions, and concerns that can be found throughout our website. Please check out our Archives Page, and Links Page for more.

Clean water is the right of all citizens. Read Resolution Introduced by Joel Tyner: District 11 - Rhinebeck/Clinton Legislator.

Serious Concideration of Southern Dutchess Sand and Gravel Project is Needed. Read article…

Toxic Water Is A Major Problem In The United States. Read article…

Read the list of MTBE spills in Dutchess County.

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