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KALAMAZOO ALUMINUM MANUFACTURING COMPANY TELLS STATE -- GENERAL ELECTRIC SHORTCHANGED CITIZENS ON INVESTIGATION, CLEANUP OF HAZARDOUS WASTE SITE

KALAMAZOO ALUMINUM MANUFACTURING COMPANY TELLS STATE -- GENERAL ELECTRIC SHORTCHANGED CITIZENS ON INVESTIGATION, CLEANUP OF HAZARDOUS WASTE SITE
 KALAMAZOO, Mich., Sept. 10 /PRNewswire/ -- In formal comments filed with the state of Michigan Department of Natural Resources ("MDNR"), a Kalamazoo aluminum manufacturing company has charged that the study of contamination at an Oshtemo Township, Kalamazoo County, Mich., contamination site may have been compromised by the General Electric Company's (NYSE: GE)("GE") assumption of direct responsibility for the study and cleanup of the contamination.
 The comments, filed by Midwest Aluminum Manufacturing Co. ("Midwest") with the MDNR, referred to internal notes taken at a meeting between GE's contamination cleanup project director, Bennie Underwood of de maximis, inc., and one of GE's prime contamination investigation contractors, Sirrine Environmental Consultants ("Sirrine"). The notes revealed the following positions apparently taken by engineers studying the contamination on behalf of GE.
 1. "The goal is to find some evidence that exonerates GE completely of contaminating all but their own property."
 2. "If GE does absolutely nothing from this point on they will have to pay (deep pockets), MWA very limited pockets, VDC Chapter 11."
 3. "If JDR's interpretation is correct, with no further evidence contradicting, G.E will have given more ammunition to reg. agencies."
 4. "Bennie Underwood feels that GE's back is up against the wall and that the chances of finding the information to exonerate GE from 'regional' responsibility using proposed Phase I methods is nil."
 5. "Bennie Underwoods's goal in this investigation is to exonerate GE from regional responsibility, any tort action, and any resulting expense there is."
 Michael Morrow, a representative of Midwest, said he believes that abbreviations in the notes represent Midwest (MWA), Viking Die Cast (VDC), a Sirrine hydrogeologist (JDR), and regulatory (reg.).
 Morrow said that his company filed the comments with MDNR in response to GE's feasibility study for the cleanup of the Oshtemo Township site. According to Morrow, GE, which operated a plant on West Michigan Avenue in Oshtemo Township adjacent to Midwest, was told by the MDNR back in 1986 that it was a potentially responsible party for groundwater contamination. Area residents at the time were precluded from using their well water because of contamination.
 Subsequent investigations found extremely higher levels of certain contaminants, including 1,1,1 trichloroethane, on the property owned by GE. GE operated a manufacturing facility at the site through 1988 and still owns the property.
 According to Morrow, "Since GE was told of its potentially- responsible-party status back in 1986, it has failed to take a single substantive step to remediate groundwater contamination.
 "Now GE only plans to clean up its own property and neglect the property of its neighbors," said Morrow.
 Morrow charged that "GE has failed to honor agreements with the state of Michigan to clean up the property and has failed to sign an administrative consent order that it promised to sign back in 1988."
 The Midwest comments charge that "Through its various consultants, GE has failed to disclose the magnitude of solvent usage at the Kalamazoo operation during the tenure of ownership and control." The comments also charge that "GE has failed to disclose that as early as 1979 it knew that its property had groundwater contamination," and that it "failed to take steps to remediate that contamination or prevent its migration off-site."
 Midwest has formally asked the state to:
 1. Make GE assume full economic liability for the cost of a regional cleanup;
 2. Conduct a public investigation to determine the extent to which study and analysis of the contamination has been compromised by GE's corporate goals;
 3. Determine which, if any, of the analytical results obtained by GE and its consultants can be used to assist the MDNR's development of comprehensive, federally approved remediation alternatives.
 Midwest has also asked that the state assume full and complete responsibility for directing and conducting a complete regional cleanup using MDNR personnel or consultants who have no corporate conflicts of interest.
 MDNR has scheduled a public hearing on the cleanup of this site for 7 p.m., today, Sept. 10, at the Holiday Inn in Kalamazoo, Mich.
 -0- 9/10/92
 /EDITORS: Midwest Aluminum Manufacturing Co. will conduct a media briefing today (Sept. 10) at 2 p.m. in the Fields Room of the Radisson Plaza Hotel in Kalamazoo Center./
 /CONTACT: Michael Morrow, 219-848-7426, or Robert Morrow, 616-375-7400, both of Midwest/
 (GE) CO: Midwest Aluminum Manufacturing Co.; General Electric Company;
 Michigan Department of Environmental Resources ST: Michigan IN: MNG UTI SU:


PT-SB -- PG002 -- 7814 09/10/92 07:50 EDT
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Date:Sep 10, 1992
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