Once an important manufacturing plant and home to hundreds of employees, the Chamberlain Manufacturing Company closed operations in the mid-1990s. Andrew Chamberlain, a prominent butter maker, started the company in the early 1900s to service the butter-separation industry. The company eventually evolved into the Waterloo Rope Belt Company, producing products associated with the large separators in creameries. In 1913 the company changed to Chamberlain Machine Works.  With the onset of World War I, the machinery used for creameries was re-adapted to manufacture artillery shells for the war effort. The machine works continued to manufacture numerous products until World War II. During the war period the company again manufactured ammunition.  Duchossois Industries purchased Chamberlain in 1978. The company continued work as a major contractor for the U.S. Department of Defense until its closure.  Since the plant shut down, the EPA designated the remaining 500,000 square feet of buildings on 22-acres as a funded Brownfields project. The site continues to be the focus of redevelopment by the city.

Project Funding Sources

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
Hazardous Substances Assessment Grant

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
Petroleum Assessment Grant

Iowa Department of Economic Development (IDED)
Iowa Brownfield Fund (demolition)

City of Waterloo

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
Hazardous Substances Cleanup Grant

Federal Government
Earmarked Funds

Project Timeline

The City of Waterloo earmarked funds to begin partial demolition of former Chamberlain Manufacturing Company buildings.

Demolition bids for former Chamberlain buildings below budget.

Former Chamberlain Manufacturing Company site received a $200,000 EPA Brownfield Hazardous Substances Cleanup Grant.

Project awarded a $175,000 Iowa Brownfields Fund grant from the Iowa Department of Economic Development for further demolition.

Low demolition contract bid allows the City of Waterloo to remove additional buildings.

03.2012 | ARTICLE
Site monitoring and sampling investigations continue.

01.2013 | ARTICLE
Buried tanks discovered at Chamberlain during demolition activities.

05.2017 | ARTICLE
City Council approves contract for redevelopment planning.

09.2019 | ARTICLE
City moves to rezone Chamberlain property.

Project Success Story

The former Chamberlain Manufacturing Corp. buildings sat vacant and deteriorated since their closing in 1994.  After acquiring the 22-arce site in 2006, the City of Waterloo aggressively sought federal and state funding sources to help in the cleanup process of the property.  Using EPA Brownfield assessment grants, the city was able perform Phase I and II Environmental Site Assessments (ESAs) on the site.  The ESAs provided information that would help the city and EPA manage contamination with the intent to clean up the site for future productive use.  The city demolished all 24 buildings in 2012/13 to minimize future liability associated with the decaying structures.  The former owner of the property is continuing to conduct soil and groundwater investigations.  The Community Planning and Development Department will host public meetings in the future to gather input for the creation of a land use plan for the site.