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EPA Region 7 Recognizes City of Dubuque, Iowa, and John Deere Dubuque Works with Awards for Environmental Practices

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Benjamin Washburn (
Ashley Murdie (

Environmental News


EPA seal(Lenexa, Kan., April 19, 2018) - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Region 7 today recognized the city of Dubuque, Iowa, and John Deere Dubuque Works in separate events for their outstanding contributions to environmentalism and sustainability at Superfund sites. EPA Region 7 Administrator Jim Gulliford presented the Leading Environmentalism and Forwarding Sustainability (L.E.A.F.S.) award to each organization.

“EPA is recognizing two organizations in Dubuque for leading innovative efforts that are transforming Superfund sites into productive reuse showcases,” Gulliford said. “Both the city of Dubuque and the team at John Deere Dubuque Works have earned this recognition through a steadfast commitment to their community. Cleaning up sites and restoring them to productive use is at the core of the Superfund mission, and we greatly value these efforts.”

EPA Region 7 established the L.E.A.F.S. award to recognize those who have supported the Superfund Redevelopment Initiative through innovative thinking, sustainable practices, and environmental stewardship.

The city of Dubuque, in partnership with the Iowa Department of Transportation and the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, as well as the MidAmerican Energy Company, earned the L.E.A.F.S. award for its revitalization of the Peoples Natural Gas Superfund Site, transforming it into the Jule Operations and Training Center (JOTC). Actions taken at the site include:

  • Constructing the building with very limited excavation, while using the foundation of the previous building.
  • The grade was raised several feet to increase the distance between subsurface contamination and the building.
  • The floor of the entire building is one piece, and includes a vapor barrier to prevent vapor intrusion.
  • New subsurface utility lines were specially constructed to prevent contact with contaminants and minimize the necessity for repairs.

At John Deere Dubuque Works, the company installed six inches of soil across the northern portion of the landfill surface; seeded native grasses and wildflowers to stabilize soil; installed a walking trail to promote employees’ mental and physical well-being; and installed pollinator habitats that will increase species diversity.

Evaluation criteria for the L.E.A.F.S. award include:

  • Enhancement of the selected remedy
  • Reduction of EPA's long-term stewardship responsibilities
  • Consideration of and effect on the local community
  • Implementation of sustainable practices
  • Consideration of long-term implementation of the selected remedy
  • Innovation in creative thinking
  • Demonstration of outstanding environmental stewardship

Region 7 is a highly rural region with lots of available greenspace. Many opportunities exist to revitalize these sites through creative thinking and environmental awareness. Sites that are successfully reused can benefit communities, developers, site owners, and local governments. These sites can also be redeveloped in a way that enhances the remedial actions taken and supports stewardship of the land. This award was established to recognize any and all of these outstanding efforts.

Previous L.E.A.F.S. award winners include various stakeholders at the Chemical Commodities Inc. Site in Olathe, Kansas, in 2012; and Walmart and the Argentine Neighborhood Development Association for their reuse of the Kansas City Structural Steel Site in Kansas City, Kansas, in 2014.

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Learn more about the EPA Region 7 L.E.A.F.S. Award

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