Commitment to Environmental Leadership


When groundwater contamination was first discovered at one of IBM’s sites in 1977, the company initiated groundwater monitoring at all of its manufacturing and development locations worldwide. Today, IBM has 2,656 monitoring wells and 107 extraction wells.

In 2013, approximately 15,500 pounds of solvents from past contamination were extracted while remediating, controlling and containing groundwater at six currently operating IBM locations and 12 former IBM locations in three countries. At six of these locations, an additional 2,500 pounds of solvents were removed by soil vapor extraction or other methods. IBM also has financial responsibility for remediation at two additional former locations.

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 acceptable and legally compliant at the time. As of year-end 2013, IBM had received notification (through federal, state or private party) of its potential liability at 114 sites, since the beginning of the Superfund program in 1980. Of these, 63 are on the US National Priority List. At the majority of the 114 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 2013.

When investigation and/or remediation at an IBM current or former location or a non-IBM 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, 2013, the total accrual amount was $245 million.