EPA spokesman Ben Washburn says the sites contained contamination and were cleaned up. He says at sites where they don’t have a responsible party who can pay for it, federal funds are used to clean up the site. Some of the contamination isn’t removed and needs to be checked.
“The EPA conducts five-year reviews at sites where contamination is left in place after the completion of the remedy,” Washburn says. “So these five-year reviews are to ensure that the remedy that was put in place continues to be protective of human health and the environment.”
The review found an a couple of issues with the former Dico plant in south-central Des Moines. “The first is that there are pesticides in the pond that’ll need to be remediated in the future. And it also identified some long-term risks at some of the buildings and a pond at the site,” according to Washburn. “The site is protected in the short-term, but in the long-term, due to the potential redevelopment or even deterioration of the buildings, additional remedial action needs to be taken.”
The review also found some issues at the Mason City Coal Gasification Plant Site. The EPA could not confirm the remedy was protecting the area and 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.
The third review at the John Deere Ottumwa Works Site found the remedy to be protecting both human health and the environment. EPA found the limitations on site use and access restrictions remain in place.
The EPA will conduct the next review at the Ottumwa site in 2023. EPA Superfund reviews are expected to be completed at three other Iowa sites by October of this year. They are the John Deere Dubuque Works Site; the Mid-America Tanning Company Site in Sergeant Bluff and the Waterloo Coal Gasification Plant Site.