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EPA in Iowa

John Deere Waterloo Works – Drivetrain Operations Facility, Waterloo, Black Hawk County, Iowa - Fact Sheet, May 2020

Public Comment Period for Proposed Remedy and Permit Modification


The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Region 7 invites the public to comment on the Proposed Remedy (Proposed Corrective Measures) and draft Permit Modifications for the John Deere Waterloo Works – Drivetrain Operations facility, 400 Westfield Avenue, Waterloo, Iowa.


The Proposed Remedy Modification is for Solid Waste Management Unit (SWMU) 14 located on the facility, and will consist of a combination of existing interim and ongoing cleanup actions, as well as newly implemented cleanup actions, as discussed below.

Soil Contamination
  • Soil excavation and off-site disposal of volatile organic compound (VOC)-contaminated hot-spot soils.
Groundwater Contamination
  • Continue monitored natural attenuation (MNA) through the use of an extensive monitoring well network to reduce contaminant concentrations in groundwater by natural chemical, biological and physical attenuation processes to below final cleanup standards.
  • Long-term monitoring will be conducted to ensure no off-site migration of contamination is occuring; to track progress of MNA and hydraulic containment; and to confirm that contaminant concentrations in groundwater are reduced to below final cleanup standards for a period of at least three years.
  • If post-excavation groundwater monitoring does not indicate a demonstration of sufficient progress toward attainment of groundwater cleanup standards, enhanced anaerobic bioremediation will be implemented as a contingency remedial option for treatment of VOC-impacted groundwater at SWMU-14.

EPA encourages the public to review the Proposed Final Remedy, draft Permit Modifications, and Administrative Record, which contains documents supporting the Proposed Final Remedy.

The public comment period will run from May 27, 2020, through July 13, 2020.

Written comments on the Proposed Final Remedy should be mailed or emailed no later than July 13, 2020, and sent to:

Lisa Messinger
EPA Region 7 (LCRD/ROAG)
11201 Renner Boulevard
Lenexa, KS 66219


The 290-acre facility is bordered by River Road and the Cedar River on the north and Westfield Avenue on the south. The facility was originally established as the Waterloo Gasoline and Traction Engine Company in 1893. Deere and Company of Moline, Illinois, acquired the facility in 1918 and has operated it since that time. In June 1991, EPA issued a federal Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) Hazardous Waste Management Permit to John Deere Waterloo Works, which allowed for the operation of a hazardous waste storage facility at the site. Since the issuance of the permit, all the previous permitted units have been either reclassified as Clean Water Act facilities or cleaned and closed under RCRA.

In 2006, the permit was renewed for the remaining corrective action activities for identified Solid Waste Management Units (SWMUs) and Areas of Contamination (AOCs). It contained a cleanup plan, which remains in place as part of the permit, in addition to the Final Remedy Decision for the entire facility issued on Sept. 26, 2019. The remedy for the entire facility included engineering controls in the form of caps over contaminated soil areas; long-term monitoring and monitored natural attenuation of groundwater contamination; hydraulic control; and the use of institutional controls in the form of a Soil Management Plan and Environmental Covenant to mitigate exposure to residual contamination. The remedy decision for groundwater at the time for SWMU-14 was to treat groundwater contamination with the use of soil vapor extraction, in-well air stripping or enhanced in-situ bioremediation, or a combination thereof.


Environmental investigations have identified widespread metals, semi-volatile organic compounds (SVOCs), and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in groundwater, as well as specific areas with chlorinated VOCs, petroleum hydrocarbons, and Aroclor in groundwater as the primary risk drivers. In particular, chlorinated VOCs have been detected in soil at SWMU-14 in limited areas above levels that may be contributing to ongoing groundwater contamination in the area.


The Administrative Record is available for public review during normal business hours at the following locations:

Waterloo City Hall, 2nd Floor
Planning and Zoning Department

715 Mulberry Street
Waterloo, IA 50701

EPA Region 7 Records Center
11201 Renner Boulevard
Lenexa, KS 66219
Phone: 1-800-223-0425
The Administrative Record also can be made available on a CD upon request by contacting the Community Involvement Coordinator listed below.

A public hearing has not been scheduled, but will be held if there is sufficient public interest. Written requests for a public hearing should be submitted no later than July 13, 2020, to the EPA contact listed above, and must state the nature of issues proposed to be raised at the hearing. EPA will evaluate any request and hold a formal hearing if it determines that a hearing will contribute to the decision-making process by clarifying significant issues affecting the remedy.

After consideration of all comments received, EPA will make a Final Permit Modification and Remedy Decision. If the decision is made to select a Final Remedy that is substantially unchanged from the Proposed Final Remedy, EPA will notify all persons submitting comments or requesting a notice of the final decision. If the Proposed Final Remedy is substantially changed, EPA will issue another public notice indicating the changes.

Individuals may write to the EPA contact listed above to join the mailing list, which will allow an individual to receive any updated information directly throughout the permitting process.

If you have questions or want to receive further information, please contact:

Ben Washburn
Community Involvement Coordinator
EPA Region 7 (ORA/OPA)
11201 Renner Boulevard
Lenexa, KS 66219
Toll-free: 1-800-223-0425