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Fact Sheet

December 2010

Announcing the Second Five-Year Review Report, Shaw Avenue Dump Site, Charles City, Floyd County, Iowa


The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) conducts regular five-year reviews on Superfund sites where cleanups have been completed. These reviews are required by the Superfund law [42 U.S.C. § 9621(c)]. EPA Region 7 has completed the second five-year review of the Shaw Avenue Dump Site in Floyd County, Iowa.

Site Background

The Shaw Avenue Dump Site is approximately 600 feet from the Cedar River, near the intersection of Shaw Avenue and Clark Street and is approximately 2,000 feet long and approximately 525 feet wide. The Iowa Terminal Railroad tracks bound the site to the west. The site is fenced on the north and east sides and is bordered by the Cedar River to the south. The site occupies approximately 24 acres of the Cedar River 100-year floodplain. The site is owned by the city of Charles City.

The city of Charles City purchased the northern portion of the site in 1899 and continued to acquire sections until 1964. The site has been used for municipal waste disposal and disposal of sludge from the city treatment plant, and was also used by Salsbury Laboratories, Inc., from 1949 to 1953 to dispose of chemical processing waste from its animal pharmaceuticals business, consisting of arsenic and organic compounds. Salsbury Laboratories discharged liquid wastes to the city wastewater treatment plant and from 1949 to 1964; sludges from the treatment plant were disposed of at the site. Compounds contained in the waste materials from Salsbury Laboratories included arsenic, nitrophenol, orthonitroaniline, nitrobenzene, and 1,1,2-trichloroethane.

The site was identified as a potential hazardous waste site by the Iowa Department of Environmental Quality (IDEQ) in 1977. IDEQ studied the site and documented arsenic contamination in surface water associated with the site in reports from 1977 to 1981. The site was placed on the National Priorities List (NPL) in July 1987. In 1987 EPA notified Salsbury Laboratories and the city of Charles City of their potential liability and a Consent Order was completed in 1988. A remedial investigation and feasibility study were completed in 1991.

In 1991, EPA divided the site into two operable units or OUs. A Record of Decision or ROD for OU1 was completed in September 1991. The remedy selected included fixation/stabilization of chemical fill and contaminated soil, installation of a low-permeability cap, and groundwater monitoring. In March 1992, an Explanation of Significant Differences or ESD was issued. This document selected a contingency remedy: excavation using a hydraulic excavator with treatment and disposal at an offsite landfill.

In 1992, EPA entered into a Consent Decree with the city of Charles City and Solvay Animal Health, Inc., the successor to Salsbury Laboratories, Inc. The Consent Decree required the city of Charles City and Solvay Animal Health, Inc. (later Fort Dodge Animal Health, Wyeth, and Pfizer as of October 2009) to perform excavation and disposal of the chemical fill and contaminated soil, to conduct the groundwater monitoring, and to implement institutional controls, which include a restrictive covenant and easement on the site property.

The remedial action was completed in 1994. In September 2000, a Groundwater Operable Unit ROD for OU2 selected a remedy: groundwater monitoring and continuation of institutional controls.

The first five-year review was conducted in 2005 and concluded the remedy at the site continued to be protective of human health and the environment.

Five-Year Review

As a part of this five-year review, EPA and the Iowa Department of Natural Resources conducted a site inspection on March 10, 2010. Relevant documents were reviewed, including reports that documented institutional controls, groundwater and surface water monitoring, and post remedial action inspections conducted quarterly from 1993 to present.

This second five-year review concluded that the remedy at the Shaw Avenue Dump Site is protective of human health and the environment. No issues were identified. Quarterly inspections will continue to determine if any maintenance activities are necessary and assess compliance with the restrictions stated in the ROD.

Additional Information

Detailed site information is available at the following locations:

Charles City Public Library
106 Milwaukee
Charles City, Iowa
(641) 257-6319

EPA Region 7 Records Center
901 North Fifth Street
Kansas City, Kansas
(913) 551-4038

Questions or requests for information can be submitted to:

Belinda Young
Community Involvement Coordinator
EPA Region 7
901 North Fifth Street
Kansas City, Kansas 66101
Toll free: 1-800-223-0425
E-mail: young.belinda@epa.gov

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