WATERLOO — A consultant is looking at potential uses for the contaminated Chamberlain Manufacturing Corp. site.
Waterloo City Council members have hired HR Green, of Johnston, under a $60,000 contract to help develop an environmental cleanup plan for the property at East Fourth and Esther streets and come up with options for its future.
“We just want to reassure the neighbors we haven’t forgotten about them,” said Mayor Quentin Hart. “We’re going to do our best to put something together with our current situation.”
HR Green will review existing reports about soil and water contamination on the site to develop cleanup options and cost estimates. The firm also will create up to two reuse designs to be displayed at a public open house meeting later this year.
Chamberlain Manufacturing, a former defense contractor, operated at the 22-acre site from 1919 until closing in 1994. The city acquired the property in 2005 and worked with the Environmental Protection Agency, using federal grants to demolish the buildings and test for environmental contamination.
The EPA in April 2011 ordered Chamberlain Manufacturing, now a division of Duchossois Industries Inc., of Elmhurst, Ill., to clean up chemicals found on the site and under surrounding homes. That effort is ongoing.
Hart met with Duchossois representatives earlier this month in Chicago about the project, which he said led to this “opportunity for us to work together with all of those entities to see what we can do to find a very productive way to use that site, how we can help have a positive impact with the neighbors in that area who have been waiting a very long time to see what’s going to come about.”
Community Planning and Development Director Noel Anderson said HR Green will review previous testing done by the EPA and Duchossois to determine what type of cleanup would be necessary for a variety of potential uses.
“This report will give us a nice detailed document to move ahead with the redevelopment of that site,” he said.
A health consultation performed several years ago for the EPA by the Iowa Department of Public Health found the current levels of chemical contamination would not preclude future business, residential or recreational uses.