EPA and Des Moines move to Rehab Polluted Eyesore property | Iowa News


By DAVID PITT, Associated Press

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – The administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on his first visit to Iowa joined state and city officials on Tuesday in announcing future plans to ‘a sprawling former industrial site in a high profile location on the edge of the city center. Monks.

The 43-acre property bordered by the east bank of the Raccoon River and a key town boulevard was classified as a federal superfund site in 1983. This designation qualified the property for federal funding under a federal law. 1980 which allows the EPA to clean up the contamination and force responsible parties to remove the contaminants or reimburse the government for doing so.

The contamination and necessary cleanup has been the subject of a protracted litigation between Titan International Inc. – the parent company of manufacturers Dico and Titan Tire Corp. – and the EPA. The property has been vacant for 25 years.

Under a court-ordered settlement approved in February, Dico and Titan will pay the EPA $ 11.5 million and turn the property over to the city of Des Moines. The city will operate a groundwater treatment system, which will be upgraded by the EPA, and work with the EPA on future uses.

“The EPA has been working on the DICO site for a long time and the city has suffered from this scourge for decades. At EPA, we know it’s not just about cleaning, but what’s next. We lead with the idea that environmental protection and economic prosperity are not mutually exclusive. They actually go hand in hand, ”said Michael S. Regan, administrator of the EPA.

For the municipal authorities, freeing up the land for development is a historic step. The complex of deteriorated and rusted buildings can be seen from Martin Luther King Boulevard, a major thoroughfare in the city, and has long been the target of development. It is one of the last remnants of an industrial area which, for much of the city’s history, was the site of heavy industry where a chemical plant for pesticides once stood and where steel wheels were once made.

Des Moines Mayor Frank Cownie remembers working there in the 1980s with a group of business owners looking to improve the area.

“It’s been a long time to come,” Cownie said. “I think it’s been about 38 years since this site was created to become a superfund. It’s been a long, very long project and it’s a great day for the sun to shine on it and say we can see the end and we have a solution.

The City of Des Moines has requested $ 27.1 million in public funds from the Districts Reinvestment Program. The Iowa Economic Development Authority is expected to meet on May 21 to announce whether the project has been selected for funding.

The money would go towards a proposed $ 276 million project that would include a 6,300-seat multipurpose outdoor stadium that would house a professional football team as well as a hotel and other mixed-use developments.

Ownership is expected to transfer to city ownership this month. After that, the EPA will demolish the contaminated buildings, which are expected to be completed in early fall. The City of Des Moines will demolish the remaining buildings this year and will work with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources and the EPA to ensure proper use and monitoring for any residual contamination in soil and water.

Cownie said plans for the site’s development are expected to be completed next year.

Copyright 2021 The Associated press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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