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IBM Burlington & the U.S. EPA sign innovative environmental agreement

IBM Burlington & the U.S. EPA sign innovative environmental agreement

14 Nov 2000 -- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has signed an agreement with IBM Burlington that allows regulatory flexibility in handling wastewater from IBM's new copper manufacturing process, and reduces greenhouse gas emissions and energy consumption. The agreement was negotiated under EPA's XL (eXcellence and Leadership) Program, which gives companies flexibility in implementing innovative projects to achieve environmental benefits. The new manufacturing process uses an electroplating technique to deposit copper onto the microchips. The rinse waters from this process are combined with other wastewaters because all wastewaters from plating processes are defined as hazardous. Since copper is not considered hazardous in this waste stream, the EPA was willing to make a redefinition.

Also as part of this agreement, IBM Burlington will reduce its emissions of perfluorocompounds (PFCs) from semiconductor manufacturing 40 percent by year-end 2002, indexed to production against a base year of 1995. PFCs are believed to have an impact on global climate change.

"We're very pleased about this sort of proactive approach from IBM," said Canute Dalmasse, commissioner of the Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation. "They continue to make a number of thoughtful improvements and act as a leader for Vermont's computer and electronics industry"

Project XL is a national pilot program that allows businesses to develop innovative strategies to test better and more cost-effective ways of protecting the environment and public health. More information about Project XL is available at the EPA's Project XL Web Site.