At about the same time, IBM discovered a groundwater contamination problem near its manufacturing plant in New Jersey, according to George Pinder, a hydrogeologist at the University of Vermont who, at the time, was a professor at Princeton University.Pinder was hired by IBM in 1978 to assess groundwater pollution at all the company's manufacturing sites, including the Essex Junction plant.
"They were very aggressive," Pinder
said of IBM's
top executives."They had me looking at every site in the country."
In February, 1979, Pinder
the bad news about Essex Junction: the groundwater was contaminated, and not just a little bit.
That's a view shared by Pinder
."It's a non-issue," he
says it's important to keep the contaminated site in perspective.Because of IBM's
efforts to pump water out of the ground, contamination has not reached the wells that ring the perimeter of the site.And because people in the immediate area have gotten their drinking water from the Champlain Water District since 1973, he
added, their wells aren't much of a concern.
"A little dry cleaner could pose more risk if it was close to someone's well or drinking water supply," Pinder