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AUTHOR OF 1988 GENERAL ELECTRIC STUDY OF CONTAMINATION AT MAJOR MICHIGAN WASTE SITE SAYS KEY PORTION OF STUDY WAS WRONG

 KALAMAZOO, Mich., Jan. 8 /PRNewswire/ -- The author of a 1988 study conducted for The General Electric Company (NYSE: GE), based in Connecticut, about ground water contamination at a Kalamazoo, Michigan waste site now says that a key statement in the report regarding the migration of groundwater contamination is "wrong." The site, located on West Michigan Avenue in Oshtemo Township, Michigan, was at one time ranked by Michigan as one of the state's top five contamination sites.
 In 1987, area residents were forced to abandon their drinking wells and use bottled water when wells were found to be contaminated with volatile organic compounds ("VOCs").
 The revelation concerning the 1988 Phase I Report prepared by Sirrine Environmental Consultants on behalf of GE was made public in comments submitted late today to the Michigan Department of Natural Resources ("MDNR") by the Midwest Aluminum Manufacturing Company ("Midwest").
 The consultants that helped prepare and review the 1988 Report are managing or have managed other contamination sites for GE in states across the country.
 Midwest is asking the State to hold GE responsible for regional groundwater contamination at the residential and industrial contamination site which is also the location of Midwest's plant.
 The information presented to the MDNR by Midwest was secured through a deposition, taken in a federal court lawsuit, of James Rudder, the author of the 1988 Phase I Study.
 Rudder testified under oath that the following statement, which he authored in 1988, is "wrong" and should not be in the report:
 "Most, approximately greater than 90 percent of the contamination has been captured by the five groundwater extraction wells of the Midwest Aluminum Industrial facility and migration downgradient of this facility has been prevented."
 That finding in the Phase I Report constituted a material basis for argument that migration of contaminants to residential drinking wells was prevented by Midwest's pumping of groundwater for use in its plant. In his Dec. 29, 1992 deposition, however, Rudder testified under oath that:
 "There is no way that I could, with any reasonable -- with any type of engineering or reasonable attitude or scientific method, assume or come up with a 90 percent factor. There is just no way. That was wrong and shouldn't be in there."
 According to the public comments submitted by Michael Morrow of Midwest, "the Phase I representation that Midwest was capturing greater than 90 percent of the contamination clearly may have alleviated public concern that GE was the source of residential well contamination." Morrow noted that "at the time of the Phase I Report, there was considerable public concern about residential well contamination, which was the subject of numerous articles in the press and reports on television."
 In his comments, Midwest's Morrow urged the MDNR to initiate an investigation to determine whether GE made intentional misrepresentations to the State of Michigan in its Phase I Report in order to avoid liability for residential well contamination.
 In public comments previously submitted to the MDNR on Sept. 8, 1992, Midwest referenced May 1988 notes taken by Rudder in which he referred to GE's project manager for its Oshtemo Township remediation activities "whose goal in the investigation (of contamination) is to separate GE from regional responsibility, any tort action, and any resulting expense there is."
 Midwest has argued to the MDNR that GE's six-year study of contamination has been biased and inadequate. Midwest has also argued that MDNR improperly allowed GE to conduct its own risk assessments of the impact of proposed remediation alternatives.
 -0- 1/8/93
 /CONTACT: Michael Morrow of Midwest Aluminum, 219-848-7426/
 (GE)


CO: Midwest Aluminum; General Electric Company ST: Michigan, Connecticut IN: SU:

LD-TM -- NY066 -- 3247 01/08/93 19:27 EST
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Date:Jan 8, 1993
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