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Fact Sheet

October 2011

EPA Completes Initial Passive Soil Gas Sampling in Support of a Preliminary Assessment at the Highway 3 PCE Site in Le Mars, Plymouth County, Iowa


The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is preparing to conduct a Preliminary Assessment (PA) Le Mars, Plymouth County, Iowa. This action is being conducted to assess potential contamination in soil and ground water, which may have originated from a subsurface source.


EPA conducted an initial sampling event at the Highway 3 PCE Site in Le Mars, Plymouth County, Iowa. The results of this sampling event indicate a need for further sampling and study to adequately characterize site conditions. Additional sampling will take place along Highway 3 and the public parking area.

The additional sampling will consist of three components: sub-slab soil vapor, soil, and ground water. The sampling is scheduled to take place the week of October 16th and will last approximately one week. Traffic disruption, including a lane closure, is possible along Highway 3 during the sampling. Parking pattern disruption in the parking lot is also anticipated.


The site includes, but is not limited to, a plume of tetrachloroethene (PCE) first detected during an April, 2008, Le Mars Coal Gas Plant site investigation. Subsequently, EPA completed two ground water sampling events, which assisted in a broader site investigation to define the extent of the PCE plume, and trace back the migration pathway to the potential source areas.

The first phase of the investigation is in the area defined by Plymouth Street (Iowa Highway 3) to the north, Central Street to the west, and Lincoln Street Southeast (SE). Later phases may include ground water sampling several blocks to the northwest of this location.


Tetrachloroethylene (PCE) is the contaminant of concern. PCE is a chlorinated hydrocarbon solvent. PCE is commonly used in dry-cleaning fluid, spot removers, and degreasers.


If you have questions or need additional information, please contact:

Ben Washburn
Community Involvement Coordinator
EPA, Region 7
Office of Public Affairs
901 North 5th Street
Kansas City, Kansas 66101
Toll-free: 1-800-223-0425
Email: washburn.ben@epa.gov

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