Sunday, March 27, 2016

Mark Bacon, IBM TCE contamination, Ambient Air Testing

I have been hearing Mark Bacon talk about "Ambient Air Testing" for years.

I am now working on getting videos online from the NYS DEC meetings we had on
IBM remediation, as well as the NIOSH study.

After reviewing these videos, and many hours of discussion with Mark,
I am finally getting an idea of why he thinks this is so important.

  • Before Remediation began, IBM did an ambient air test (Jan-Apr 2003).

    • I found this raw data on the DVDs that Alex sent us.
      Notice that all sites registered some levels (non-zero) Summary data attached.

    • Some Ambient Air Tests at that time showed levels near NEW action level 2ug/m3. 
      The results were redacted so the exact locations and property owner's name was redacted.

    • they tested indoor ambient air test. Mark got 3 canisters, basement, 1st floor, outside by patio. He also observed one across the street by building 18.

  • Date?? Big IBM meeting at Endicott Village HS. Mark asked: "If these vapors are not harmful, then why do we need a ventilation system?" A: "It's safe, but no exposure is better than exposure". (we have video of this)

  • In the summer of 2003, IBM installed sub-slab vapor intrusion mitigation systems on many houses in the plume.

  • In March of 2004, DEC changes Superfund classification of entire site from a Class 4 to a Class 2:

    "the disposal of hazardous waste has been confirmed and the presence of such hazardous waste or its components or breakdown products represents a significant threat to public health or the environment:"

  • A frenzy of remediation activity started immediately.
    Tore up big parking lot. 16 inches of blacktop added.
    (compare photos of Endicott (homes and other structures destroyed) vs. Love Canal attached)

  • 2004-2006. IBM drilled many "monitor wells" near Mark's house See photo collage.

  • in 2005, IBM claims they did an ambient air test in the village, but this was done in secret. It was nothing like the test in Jan-April 2003. Mark had no idea it was going on. There were no visible canisters outside his property, Bldg 18, or the parking lot where the monitor wells were being drilled.

  • We cannot find the raw data for this test on the DVD's that Alex sent. We also cannot find the final report on this test. There is a lot of data there. It could be there, and we just missed it. We have a FOIL request into Alex for this information.

  • Mark feels these monitor wells can act as a TCE vent
  • injection well program began (2008/2009)

  • Mark feels injection wells in conjunction with monitor well venting,
    logically, must have increased ambient air levels of TCE near his home and vicinity.

  • RECALL, the pre-remediation tests levels in 2003 were already near the NEW action threshold of 2 ug/m3.

  • N.B. The only Ambient Air tests done in 2003, and (allegedly) 2005 which was BEFORE many "monitor wells" drilled near Mark's house, and also BEFORE injection well program began.

CONCLUSION: I have come to agree with Mark, that a sustained and continuous Ambient Air Test of the village in the vicinity of the plume is need now, and was especially important to obtain during the initial remediation efforts 2005-2009, but this data is lost forever, at what risk to the residents of the village?  

But since remediation is still occurring, I believe (as does Mark) sustained and continuous ambient air test should be initiated immediately.

Bill Huston

May you, and all beings
be happy and free from suffering :)
-- ancient Buddhist Prayer (Metta)

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