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Fact Sheet

February 2012

Fifth Five-Year Review to Begin, Des Moines TCE Superfund Site, Des Moines, Polk County, Iowa


The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) conducts regular checkups, called five-year reviews, on Superfund sites where cleanups are in progress or have been completed. These reviews are required by the Superfund law [42 U.S.C. Section 9621 (c)]. EPA Region 7 has initiated the fifth five-year review of the Des Moines TCE Superfund Site in Des Moines, Polk County, Iowa.


In the mid-1970s, EPA responded to findings by the city of Des Moines and the state of Iowa that there were volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in the Des Moines water supply.

EPA investigations showed that the property owned by Dico, Inc. was the primary source of the VOC contamination. Dico manufactured steel wheels on the property starting in the mid-1940s. As part of its manufacturing process, Dico used industrial solvents, including trichloroethylene, known as TCE.

To clean up the contaminated ground water, a treatment system was installed in 1987. The treatment system includes ground water extraction wells, an on-site treatment system and monitoring wells. Dico continues to operate and maintain the treatment system.

From the mid-1950s to the early 1970s, pesticide and herbicide products were formulated on the property owned by Dico, Inc. Investigations conducted by Dico and EPA determined that these operations left residual contamination in several buildings and outside soils. Contaminants found in the buildings and in the adjacent soils included aldrin, dieldrin, heptachlor, chlordane, 2,4-D, 2,4,5-T and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs).

A series of cleanup actions was conducted in the mid-1990s to address contamination in surface soils and buildings. Dico placed an asphalt cap over much of its property to prevent exposure to contaminated soils and cleaned and coated surfaces in several buildings to prevent exposure to contamination. The cap and coatings require long term maintenance to ensure they remain effective. Dico currently provides the required maintenance.

Also in the mid-1990s, a group of other potentially responsible parties excavated pesticide contaminated soils from a drainage ditch adjacent to the Dico property and from the South Pond Area on the Dico property. These soils were taken to an offsite disposal facility.


During this five-year review, EPA will study information and records pertaining to the site, and will conduct a site inspection to make sure the actions taken to protect people from exposure to contamination continue to be properly and effectively operated and maintained. We encourage the community to tell us about site conditions or concerns you may have.

EPA will prepare a report at the end of the five-year review and place it in the site administrative record. EPA expects the report to be available to the public the second quarter of Fiscal Year 2013.


The site administrative record is available at the following locations during normal business hours:

EPA Records Center
901 N. Fifth St.
Kansas City, Kansas

Des Moines Public Library
1000 Grand Ave.
Des Moines, Iowa

If you have questions or need more information on the Des Moines TCE site or the Five-Year Review process, please contact:

Ben Washburn
Community Involvement Coordinator
EPA Region 7
901 N. Fifth St.
Kansas City, KS 66101
Toll-free:  (800) 223-0425
email: washburn.ben@epa.gov

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