DICO Superfund Des Moines

Cleanup Brings Revitalization to Des Moines Superfund Site

Evora Consulting was contracted to assist the City of Des Moines (City) in the preparation of a Phase I Environmental Site Assessment (ESA) in anticipation of the proposed property transfer of the Dico Inc.  superfund site located in downtown Des Moines, Iowa. Contamination at the facility is the result of industrial activities, including a gray iron foundry, a brake and steel wheel manufacturer, pesticide formulation, and chemical and herbicide distribution, that occurred from the 1950’s through the facility’s closure in 1995. 

A Phase I ESA was completed for the property as part of an “all appropriate inquiries” evaluation to provide the potential site owners with protections from liabilities established by the federal Superfund law (CERCLA). The Phase I ESA compiled documentation from historical records, including aerial photographs, city directories, Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps, and topographic maps, in combination with database searches and interviews to determine the potential for environmental concerns at the site. As the property is a known Superfund site the contamination was confirmed through the aforementioned documentation.

Several remedial activities have been undertaken at the site during the previous 30+ years. A remediation system was installed to treat the groundwater at the site and decrease the contaminants released to the surrounding properties. The remediation system consists of an air stripper that receives groundwater from several extraction wells on the site; the groundwater is treated prior to being released. Additionally, an asphalt cap varying from 3 to 6 inches in thickness was installed over the exposed contaminated soils. The asphalt cap was installed to prevent the movement of soils by water or wind and prevent on-site workers from coming into contact with the contamination.

During the property transfer, Evora assisted the City by creating and updating various required EPA documentation. Reports documenting the operation and maintenance of the remedial system, the monthly and semi-annual groundwater sampling, site-specific health and safety requirements, and management of soils and materials disturbed at site were submitted to the EPA to ensure continued compliance with the federal obligations.

Now that the property transfer is complete, additional remedial activities are proposed for the site. The EPA will be demolishing several on-site buildings and removing contaminated sediment from the stormwater runoff pond located on the south side of the property. The City will be completing demolition of the office and production buildings located on the north-northwest portion of the site. Each building is known to be contaminated with asbestos and PCBs; however, abatement activities will be completed prior to demolition. Additionally, a new remediation system to treat the contaminated groundwater has been proposed to replace the 30+ year old system, but a definitive installation date has yet to be determined.

To ensure compliance with state and federal regulations, remedial activities and assessment for the known contaminants at the site will be on-going for the foreseeable future. Evora is excited to support the City and its goals to bring new life to this underutilized property- including potential revitalization plans to build Iowa’s first professional soccer stadium and a brand-new redevelopment complex.   

Services provided by Evora to support site goals include: Phase I ESA, EPA Reporting including Operation and Maintenance Plans; QAPP – Quality Assurance project Plan; SMMP – Soil/Materials Maintenance Plan; HASP – Health and Safety Plan, Groundwater Sampling and Reporting, Remediation System O&M.


EPA administrator visits Des Moines, commemorating next step in revamping toxic Dico site
History of the Dico property
After nearly four decades, crews will soon demolish buildings at Des Moines’ Dico superfund site
Facing higher-than-expected cost, Des Moines seeks bids for $1m demolition, asbestos abatement at Dico superfund site