End the Stink in Endicott!

By Joan McKiernan

Dumping waste in the river? Can’t imagine it happening?

Think again: over 80,000 gallons of highly toxic waste is going into the Susquehanna at Endicott every day.

Worse again, it is going into the river just upstream from the village’s drinking water supply.

You may think, the government would never allow that. Wrong again, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has let this happen since 2011.

And now, since the waste company’s permit expired a few years ago, the DEC has started a re-permitting process, and we, the public have only until July 29 to comment on their plans. Endicott residents have experienced the stink of the waste processing; now they will experience the reek of state and local government secrecy, negligence, and lack of concern for the health of people in Broome County.

Making matters worse, County Executive Debbie Preston, having failed in her attempt to bring fracking to Broome, is now building a new pipeline, not for gas, but for waste to be shipped to Endicott to end up in the river next to the drinking water! It seems that local officials think waste treatment and dumping is their solution to the long term loss of jobs that these towns have experienced. We need to tell them we need jobs not waste!

Mark Bacon has been fighting pollution in Endicott since Spitzer was governor. His cafe on North Street is just opposite the old IBM site. Once there were jobs there, Mark said, “Now I am watching these big trucks passing here bringing waste to destroy our water.”

He was referring to the 18-wheel tanker trucks rolling through the village. Passing homes, schools and businesses, they bring waste for treatment at the IBM waste treatment facility, which is now owed by Huron Campus/i3 Electronics. Mark first got involved in protesting against IBM’s toxic “Plume” which polluted so much of the village. Now, the windows of Mark’s cafe are covered with protest leaflets against the waste.

Local activists have pointed to the very old pipes and the rusty  storm drains that are used. Jim Little believes “this process will release tons of toxins into the river via the storm sewer (which overflows during rainfalls). Communities downstream drink this water, not to mention the affect to aquatic life.”

The story of the state’s involvement in this issue is one of secrecy and deceit. The first permit for the company was for a secret, pilot program. After a valve on a rusty holding tank broke in April 2013, dumping at least 17,000 gallons of raw, unprocessed leachate into the storm drains which feed the Susquehanna, local activists began asking serious questions. Environmental activist, Bill Huston, got involved in trying to find out what was going on. He followed the trucks to find out what was being brought into Endicott. You can read all the details of that research on his blog:  http://williamahuston.blogspot.com/2016/07/commercial-landfill-leachate-dumping.html

He found out that the trucks are bringing in landfill leachate. This is the left over dirt/sludge after rainfall has permeated through landfills. The resulting sludge gathers from all the toxic waste and pollutants that are in the landfill. One landfill is Seneca Meadows, which takes landfill leachate, including about 9,000 tons of drill cuttings from PA fracking. Drill cuttings from the Marcellus Shale are known to be radioactive. Is the DEC checking for radioactivity in this waste? They say they are not.

Activists have met with DEC officials, who have explained that the DEC depends on self-reporting. For example, they state that it is up to landfill operators to check for radioactivity.

Researchers and activists have now found out that since 2014 there has been a substantive change in the quality and quantity of toxic waste being sent to Endicott. There has been a seven times increase in the amount of leachate. Also, another waste, reverse osmosis concentrate, is being sent there, and has had a 15 times increase since 2014. The massive scale up in waste increases the possibility of accidents with all the truck traffic carrying toxic wastes past residential and business areas. It appears that the company and the DEC wanted this massive scale up to happen without anybody, particularly those living in Endicott, noticing.

The DEC is continuing its pattern of deception and secrecy. They published a tiny, hard to read notice in the Press on July 1st without notifying local concerned groups. They have not provided copies of the draft permit that people are supposed to comment on. Bill Huston, working with the Concerned Citizens of Endicott, points out that in its public notice, the DEC claimed that this project “will not have a significant impact on the environment.” They have asked the DEC for evidence for this claim.

You can help. Write now and tell the DEC to end waste dumping in Endicott. Write to Teresa Diehsner, 615 Broadway, Albany, NY 12233, email: teresa.diehsner@dec.ny.gov.

July 2002, IBM sells the last of its local operation and facilities to a group of locally well connected investors which include the local Maines and Matthews families, plus other local stakeholders. The sale is broken down into two parts.  The former IBM operation becomes EIT and the  Huron Corporation,  takes ownership of the massive IBM physical facilities. EIT goes bankrupt, while profits are still to be made leasing out the Huron campus.

Terms of the sale:

State economic development aid funds up to 84% of the $63 purchase price. That is about $53 million from state funds plus other financial arrangements. What actual funds the buyers put up, if any, is unclear. The vast expense of state funds was to insure that 2,000 workers would keep their jobs. Two weeks later the firm lays off 10% of its work force — primarily in management and engineering. The 2000 guaranteed jobs have now dwindled to about 450. Later public incentives have “helped” other existing companies to relocate at the Huron Site which maintains its profitability.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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