When groundwater contamination was first discovered at one of IBM’s sites in 1977, we initiated groundwater monitoring at all of our manufacturing and development locations worldwide. Today, IBM has 2,624 monitoring wells and 109 extraction wells.
In 2012, approximately 16,400 pounds of solvents from past contamination were extracted while remediating, controlling and containing groundwater at six currently operating sites and 11 former sites in three countries. At four of these sites, an additional 2,700 pounds of solvents were removed by soil vapor extraction or other methods. IBM also has financial responsibility for remediation at two additional former sites.
As a result of the US Superfund law, IBM is involved in cleanup operations at some non-IBM sites in the United States. The Superfund law creates retroactive responsibility for certain past actions, even though those actions may have been technically and legally acceptable at the time. As of year-end 2012, IBM had received notification (through federal, state or private party) of its potential liability at 112 sites, since the beginning of the Superfund program in 1980. Of these, 61 are on the US National Priority List. At the majority of the 112 sites, it has been determined that IBM either never had liability or has resolved its potential liability. As of now, IBM believes it may have potential liability at only 17 sites noticed through 2012.
When investigation and/or remediation at an IBM location or an off-site facility is probable, and its costs can be reasonably estimated, IBM establishes accruals for loss contingency. Estimated costs connected with closure activities (such as removing and restoring chemical storage facilities) are accrued when the decision to close a facility is made. As of December 31, 2012, the total accrual amount was $229 million.