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Former Owner of Chamberlain Manufacturing Facility in Waterloo, Iowa, Ordered to Clean Up Contaminated Site

Release Date: 04/20/2010
Contact Information: Chris Whitley, 913-551-7394,

Environmental News


(Kansas City, Kan., April 20, 2010) - EPA Region 7 has ordered the former owner of the city-owned Chamberlain Manufacturing Corporation facility in Waterloo, Iowa, to develop and implement a comprehensive plan to clean up contaminated soil and groundwater at the site that resulted from the release of hazardous materials and wastes during decades of industrial activity.

Chamberlain Manufacturing owned the 22.8-acre property at 550 Esther Street in Waterloo from 1953 to 1996, during which time it was used for the manufacture of metal washer wringers, projectile metal parts, aluminum awnings and refrigerator shelves, among other items. Soils and groundwater at the site are contaminated with a number of hazardous wastes, including metals and volatile organic compounds, including trichloroethene (TCE) and tetrachloroethene (PCE).

The unilateral administrative order issued today in Kansas City, Kan., directs Chamberlain, a subsidiary of Duchossois Industries, Inc., of Elmhurst, Ill., to engage in a series of short-term and long-term actions to address environmental contamination on and around the Waterloo site.

Issued under the authority of the federal Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA), the order directs Chamberlain to develop a plan for the proper cleanup of harmful releases at the site, investigate to determine the full extent of the off-site migration of wastes, and clean up the facility property and the surrounding area.

The order specifically requires Chamberlain to take steps to mitigate the potential for intrusion of chemical vapors into nearby residences that are situated over a plume of contaminated groundwater. Long-term exposure to such vapors can pose increased risk of adverse health effects. EPA estimates that an initial phase of installing vapor mitigation systems in residences, with the consent of homeowners, could be completed within one year.

The order also requires the corporation to work with the City of Waterloo to restrict access to areas of the property where hazardous material releases are known to have occurred. The City of Waterloo acquired the property in 2005 from Atlas Warehouse, and has begun an effort to redevelop the site with the assistance of EPA’s Brownfields Program.

Chamberlain is required to collect and analyze additional information about contamination at the site in order to propose its final cleanup remedy. That remedy, once proposed, will be subject to a public comment period and EPA approval before it is implemented.

All phases of work prescribed by today’s order will be monitored by EPA and/or the Iowa Department of Natural Resources.

EPA is working to schedule a public availability session to respond to questions and provide the community with additional information about today’s legal order. A time, date and place for that event will be announced soon.

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