An official website of the United States government.

This is not the current EPA website. To navigate to the current EPA website, please go to This website is historical material reflecting the EPA website as it existed on January 19, 2021. This website is no longer updated and links to external websites and some internal pages may not work. More information »

Hazardous Waste Cleanup: IBM Corporation, Former in Owego, New York

On this page:

  • Cleanup Status
  • Site Description
  • Contaminants at this Facility
  • Site Responsibility

Cleanup Status 

IBM is currently conducting a Corrective Action Program to collect and treat contaminated groundwater at the facility. The two (2) separate areas at the facility where releases of halogenated volatile organics caused or contributed to elevated concentrations of these constituents in the groundwater are the Waste Management Area (WMA) and the Tank Farm Area of the Chemical Distribution Facility (CDF). The potential sources of contamination in the WMA include past landfill activities, industrial drain lines, and surface impoundments, both lined (the RCRA-regulated units) and unlined.

The existing groundwater collection and treatment system is designed to remediate the elevated levels of volatile organic compounds in the groundwater in the vicinity of the WMA, the Tank Farm Area and the Parking Lot 001 Area. The corrective measures implementation plan requires pumping and treating contaminated groundwater in the WMA, Parking Lot 001 Area, and Tank Farm Area to stabilize and reduce the contamination plume while reducing the contaminant concentrations. The corrective action groundwater monitoring network is described in detail in the Groundwater Monitoring Plan (GMP) dated December 2006 and any subsequent revisions approved by the DEC.

The GMP includes a description of the groundwater treatment process, the wells, the sampling frequency, the site-specific parameter list, provisions for additional monitoring parameters, and the semiannual and annual reporting requirements. Reductions in monitoring wells or analytical parameters, and changes in sampling protocols or sampling frequency may only be implemented with the DEC Commissioner’s written approval and in accordance with the site’s approved GMP.

Site Description

The corrective action activities at the facility are conducted by IBM Corporation, therefore IBM is listed as the operator of the Part 373 Hazardous Waste Management (HWM) Permit for corrective action. Lockheed Martin Corporation owns the facility and is listed as owner on the Part 373 HWM permit. Lockheed Martin provides advanced technology products, services and systems integration services to defense, civil and commercial customers. The manufacturing processes generate hazardous wastes which are stored on-site in containers for less than 90 days before they are shipped to a proper disposal facility. 

Contaminants at this Facility

Constituents of concern are Volatile Organic Contaminants (VOCs), primarily Trichloroethylene, 1,1,1-Trichloroethane and associated breakdown products. Groundwater contamination is contained by the groundwater recovery system. All groundwater users in the area are on public water supply. Soil contamination (copper) is at very low concentrations and is limited to one on-site area, which is secure (access restricted) and is managed in accordance with a soil management plan.

Construction workers are protected by the provisions in soil management plan. Indoor air could potentially impact only on-site workers, since the groundwater plume is contained on-site. Indoor air testing was conducted at Building 309 on January 30, 2001 since it was believed to represent the worst case scenario for potential indoor air impacts. Although methylene chloride was detected at concentrations which were slightly above New York State background value, the detected concentrations were below EPA’s 1x10-6 risk concentration. The concentrations were also below the screening level referenced in EPA’s draft Vapor Intrusion Guidance (dated October 23, 2001).

Indoor air testing in occupied buildings was conducted by Lockheed Martin in 2005, 2006 and again in 2008. Results indicated no significant impacts to on-site indoor air. 

Site Responsibility at this Facility

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) is the lead agency responsible for implementing the Corrective Action requirements and general groundwater monitoring conditions contained in the Part 373 HWM Permit for corrective action. The EPA provides occasional oversight.

The HWM permit for Corrective Action is in the process of being renewed by the DEC, with IBM Corporation as the operator, and Lockheed Martin Corporation as the owner of the facility.