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Fact Sheet

November 2012

Fourth Five-Year Review to Begin, John Deere - Ottumwa Works Site, Ottumwa, Wapello County, Iowa


The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) conducts mandatory reviews every five years on Superfund sites. These reviews are required by the Superfund law [42 U.S.C. Section 9621 (c)]. EPA Region 7 has started the fourth five-year review of the John Deere - Ottumwa Works Site. The site is bounded by the Wabash Railroad tracks on the west, Highway 63/34 on the east, and Vine Street on the north.

EPA is conducting the five-year review to ensure the remedy continues to be protective of human health and the environment.

A single waste disposal area of approximately 20 acres was determined to exist on-site, with the depth of waste material ranging between four and 10 feet below ground surface. The buried waste material consists of amber to black-colored sand that is easily crumbled and hardened greenish-yellow material with pieces of wood, coal, metal fragments, and paint chips. 


During the review process, EPA reviews information about the site and inspects the site to ensure the remedy remains protective of human health and the environment. EPA encourages the community to tell us about site conditions or any concerns you may have.

At the end of the review process, a final report will be prepared which will be available in the site information repositories.


The 2008 five-year review did not identify any major issues or recommendations for the site. The remedy was determined to be protective of human health and the environment.


From 1911 through 1973, Deere & Company disposed of plant-generated wastes by burying them on-site or burning them on top of the soil. Wastes buried on-site included solvents, paint sludges, cyanide, petroleum distillates, and foundry sand. These disposal areas have been substantially covered at the surface by later plant expansions or other construction.

In May 1985, EPA conducted a Site Investigation. In 1990, Geraghty & Miller, on behalf of Deere & Company, conducted an additional investigation that determined the type and extent of contamination. The investigations concluded that groundwater, surface water, and sediment contamination posed no significant threat to human health and the environment.

To address potential threats posed by the contamination, land use controls were selected to restrict contact with the site. These include perpetual maintenance of the existing eight-foot-high chain link fence topped with barbed wire and deed restrictions to limit land use by preventing development of residences or other exposure situations on-site in the future.


Inclusion on the National Priorities List (NPL) is one of the basic steps in the Superfund cleanup process. Sites which appear to present a significant threat to human health and the environment are identified and ranked to be included on the NPL.

A site may be deleted from the NPL when the remedy is completed, the contaminants contained, and no further response is required.

The John Deere - Ottumwa site was placed on the NPL on Feb. 21, 1990, and deleted on Jan. 22, 2001.


Detailed site information can be accessed in the Administrative Record for the site at the following locations during normal business hours:

Ottumwa Public Library
102 W. Fourth St.
Ottumwa, Iowa

EPA Records Center
11201 Renner Blvd.
Lenexa, Kansas
Questions or requests for information can be submitted to:

Ben Washburn
EPA Region 7
11201 Renner Blvd.
Lenexa, KS 66219
Toll-free:  (800) 223-0425
Email: washburn.ben@epa.gov           

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