Chemicals found buried at upstate NY property; state agency investigating group's property

Associated Press/December 27, 2011

Shawangunk, New York -- State officials are investigating chemical pollution found buried at an upstate New York property owned by the Jehovah's Witnesses organization.

The Department of Environmental Conservation tells the Times Herald-Record of Middletown ( ) that the pollution was found at three different two-acre sites at Watchtower Farms, a 1,100-acre property in the southern Ulster County town of Shawangunk (SHAWN'-guhnk), 70 miles northwest of New York City.

DEC officials say buried drums of chemicals were first found in 2007 while the organization was building an expansion.

An investigation found that several of the drums contained chemicals along with inks and solvents that were used at Watchtower's printing press. The printing operation produces all the religious literature the group distributes in North America.

DEC officials say Watchtower workers apparently moved the toxic soil to the sites when printing chemicals spilled decades ago.

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