GE to clean up Rome contamination

General Electric has agreed to clean up the PCB contamination that came from its Rome transformer manufacturing plant.

The compromise with the state Environmental Protection Division obligates GE to clean the soil at two sites — a Lowe's Home Improvement Center and a dentist's property.

GE won't remove all of the PCB contamination, though. Under the agreement, GE will make sure PCB levels are at or below 39 parts per million in the top two feet of soil. In December, EPD officials demanded that GE get PCB levels to 10 parts per million.

PCBs are a known carcinogen in animals, and a suspected carcinogen in humans.

The EPD's Jim Ussery says the agreed upon levels would "protect someone plant-ing shrubs or cutting grass."

The EPD backed down from one of its original demands that would have forced GE to put up warning signs in the contaminated area. That's OK though, because Rome resident Jessica Lindbergh says she'll get together a group of Romans that will do it for GE.

"That's a highly contaminated area and it's accessible to the public," Lindbergh says. "People need to know not to wander around back there."??

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