Court approves EPA and Dico Inc. and Titan Tire Company Settlement in Des Moines: EPA to Demolish Contaminated Buildings, City Prepares for Redevelopment of 43 Acres
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
(Lenexa, Kan., Feb. 8, 2021) - Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced the court approval of a settlement agreement with Dico Inc. and Titan Tire Company for payment of the Agency’s past cleanup costs and future cleanup work at the Des Moines TCE Superfund Site in Des Moines, Iowa.
The settlement agreement, issued under the authority of the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Recovery Act (CERCLA), commonly known as Superfund, is valued at $11.5 million and also requires the companies to transfer 43 acres of the site to the city of Des Moines for future public and private development.
“This settlement by EPA and the Department of Justice ensures that the potentially responsible parties are held accountable for the contamination they caused,” said Larry Starfield, Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance acting assistant administrator. “The cleanup work at the site helps to reclaim the land for redevelopment for the benefit of the surrounding community.”
“This settlement represents a big win for the residents of Des Moines and the state of Iowa,” said Acting EPA Region 7 Administrator Ed Chu. “To see an area polluted for decades restored and returned to civic use demonstrates EPA’s commitment to communities affected by industrial contamination.”
Under the terms of the settlement, Titan International – parent company of Dico Inc. and Titan Tire Company – will pay a total of $11.5 million to the United States, including approximately $10 million to reimburse EPA for past costs and approximately $1.5 million for civil penalties and punitive damages. Approximately $2.9 million will fund EPA’s future demolition of contaminated buildings and an update of the site’s 35-year old groundwater treatment system, among other work.
After the property’s transfer, the city will be responsible for maintaining an asphalt cap over contaminated soil and operation of the groundwater treatment system. The city is also planning for future mixed-use development, including a potential stadium and hotel, as well as retail development.
The 43-acre property was home to several former industrial operations, including the manufacture of pesticides, steel wheels, and tires. Dico's operations at the site resulted in the release of trichloroethene (TCE), 1,2-dichloroethene (1,2-DCE), and vinyl chloride to the groundwater; residual pesticides and metals to shallow soils; and pesticides to buildings and soils on the southern end of the site and drainage areas. Titan International purchased the property in 1993 and closed the Dico plant two years later. Considered the most blighted and hazardous section of downtown Des Moines, the property has been vacant for over 25 years.
EPA designated the property as a Superfund site in 1983. With the Superfund law, EPA operates under the “polluter pays” principle and has worked to hold Dico/Titan accountable for cleanup and reimbursement of EPA’s oversight costs.
For more information, visit the Des Moines TCE Superfund Site page.
Learn more about the Superfund program.
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