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EPA Region 7 Completes Five-Year Reviews at Superfund Sites in Des Moines, Mason City, and Ottumwa, Iowa

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Ben Washburn (

Environmental News


EPA seal(Lenexa, Kan. June 20, 2018) - Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced the completion of Five-Year Reviews at Superfund sites in Des Moines, Mason City, and Ottumwa, Iowa. Five-year reviews provide an opportunity to evaluate the implementation and performance of a remedy to determine whether it remains protective of human health and the environment.

“Ensuring the safety of communities surrounding Superfund sites does not end when the remedy is completed. We are constantly working to protect the human health and environment when it comes to Superfund remediation and reuse. Conducting five-year reviews ensures that the public remains protected from Superfund sites where the remedy has been completed but some contamination remains on-site,” said EPA Region 7 Administrator Jim Gulliford. “If these quality control management efforts uncover any issues, we are equipped and ready to take additional cleanup actions.”

EPA completed the reviews at the Des Moines TCE Superfund Site, John Deere Ottumwa Works Superfund Site, and Mason City Coal Gasification Plant Superfund Site.

At the Des Moines TCE Site, the remedy at the site remains protective for Operable Units 1 through 3. However, the remedy at Operable Unit 4 is no longer protective. The Ecological Risk Assessment, performed by EPA, identified significant ecological risks in the South Pond Area due to pesticides. To augment the existing remedy, EPA will evaluate additional remedial alternatives that will be protective. In the short-term, restrictions on access to the on-site buildings control exposure pathways. To be protective in the long-term, the contaminated buildings need to be addressed by additional remedial action.

At the John Deere Ottumwa Works Site, EPA found the remedy to be protective of both human health and the environment. Limitations on site use and access restrictions remain in place. EPA will conduct the next review in 2023.

At the Mason City Coal Gasification Plant Site, EPA could not confirm the remedy was protective at the current time. Further sampling in nearby Willow Creek will determine whether the site is impacting sediment or wildlife in this area. EPA expects this sampling and analysis to take two to three years, at which point a new protectiveness determination could be made.

EPA plans to conduct nine additional five-year reviews by October 1 at the following Superfund sites:

  • Ace Services Site - Colby, Kansas
  • Cleburn Street Well Site - Grand Island, Nebraska
  • John Deere Dubuque Works Site - Dubuque, Iowa
  • Lindsay Manufacturing Co. Site - Lindsay, Nebraska
  • Mid-America Tanning Co. Site - Sergeant Bluff, Iowa
  • Sherwood Medical Co. Site - Norfolk, Nebraska
  • Valley Park TCE Site - Valley Park, Missouri
  • Waterloo Coal Gasification Plant Site - Waterloo, Iowa
  • Wright Groundwater Contamination Site - Wright, Kansas

Five-year reviews are required by the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) when hazardous substances remain on-site above levels that permit unrestricted use and unlimited exposure.

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