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Legal Settlement Reached with John Deere, U.S. Army and City of Ankeny, Iowa, for Cleanup at Des Moines Ordnance Plant

Release Date: 02/03/2009
Contact Information: Chris Whitley, 913-551-7394,

Environmental News


(Kansas City, Kan., Feb. 3, 2009) - EPA Region 7 has reached a legal settlement that paves the way for environmental cleanup work to be completed at a contaminated landfill and lagoon facility on the grounds of the 2,445-acre former Des Moines Ordnance Plant in Ankeny, Iowa.

The administrative settlement, approved today in Kansas City, Kan., focuses on a 38-acre tract known as the Des Moines Ex Ordnance Site Landfill and Lagoon Complex, Operable Unit 1. From 1942 to 1991, the facility was used to process and dispose of waste streams from various industries and sources, including World War II-era ammunition manufacturing, and subsequent farm implement manufacturing and municipal waste disposal.

Environmental sampling at the site has shown measurable contamination of soils and sediments by a range of pollutants, primarily lead and chromium. Once cleaned up, the property is intended to become greenspace as part of the City of Ankeny's planned Prairie Trail development project.

EPA's settlement provides that the John Deere Des Moines Works of Deere & Company, the City of Ankeny, and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will jointly spend an estimated $9.1 million on environmental cleanup work at the site, to include the removal of contaminated materials from former waste lagoons, and construction of a protective cap over the former landfill.

The federal government, on behalf of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, will pay $72,540 to EPA's Superfund program for past response costs, and $2.6 million to Deere & Company and the City of Ankeny to cover past and future cleanup costs, the agreement says. Deere & Company and the City of Ankeny will perform the cleanup and pay EPA $145,081 to compensate the Agency for environmental response work that has already been performed at the landfill and lagoon complex.

The Des Moines Ordnance Plant, operated by the United States Rubber Company on contract for the federal government, made ammunition and brass casings from 1942 to 1945. A 586-acre portion of the property, including the landfill and lagoon site, was deeded by the United States to Deere & Company in 1947. Deere & Company used the location to manufacture farm equipment until 1965, when it deeded the landfill and lagoon complex to the City of Ankeny. The city used the landfill for disposal of municipal waste until the mid-1970s, and continued to use a sanitary sewage treatment plant within the complex until 1991.
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    Learn more about EPA's cleanup plans for the Des Moines Ordnance Plant.

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