City of Oshkosh Completes Last Phase of Riverfront Brownfields Cleanup

In June 2017, the city of Oshkosh received the final Wisconsin DNR approval of the remediation of the former Mercury Marine facility on the Fox River. In 2006, the city acquired the closed facility from Mercury Marine with hopes to convert the property into a new and improved community asset. The city used EPA brownfields grants for assessment and cleanup work on the properties as well as state, city, and private funding.

Oshkosh Riverwalk

A new riverwalk provides additional community access to the waterfront.

This property housed industrial facilities since the mid-1800s. Past uses of the land include a lumber business, candle company, and a bulk fuel tank farm. The site was then owned by the Kiekhaefer Aeromarine Company who then sold it to Mercury Marine in the mid-1970s. A range of contamination types were identified at the site as well as several feet of waste fill across the entire property. Metals, petroleum contamination, and chlorinated compounds were identified in the soil and groundwater.

The city removed much of the contamination while using buildings and parking lots to serve as a cover over the residual contaminated soil. In addition, the cleanup included an innovative approach where they left one area of heavily contaminated soil under a newly created, city owned, small park. This park serves as a protective barrier, saves project funds and creates additional public green space. This park connects to a new public riverwalk and piers along the river. The city partnered with a private developer to build three high quality apartment buildings, two specifically for senior residents. The site went through the DNR’s Voluntary Party Liability Exemption (VPLE) program and received a Certificate of Completion in August 2017 which provides liability protections for current and future property owners.

Updated Off-Site Liability Exemption Publication Now Available

The RR Program recently updated a fact sheet on the state’s off-site environmental liability exemptions, When Contamination Crosses a Property Line: The Off-Site Environmental Liability Exemption – Wis. Stat. §§ 292.12 and 292.13, Rights and Responsibilities of Off-site, Affected Property Owners, RR-589 Please recycle old versions of this DNR document and reference to the updated document moving forward.

The update also includes content from and  replaces, a publication titled, What Homeowners, Lenders and Realtors should know about Off-site Contamination, RR-927. More information about the off-site exemption, and RR Program contacts, are available on the DNR’s  web page, Off-site contamination – contamination that crosses property lines.

Upcoming Interstate Technology & Regulatory Council (ITRC) Training

March 22: Geophysical Classification for Munitions Response

March 27: Groundwater Statistics for Environmental Project Managers

March 29: Geospatial Analysis for Optimization at Environmental Sites

April 5: Petroleum Vapor Intrusion: Fundamentals of Screening, Investigation, and Management

April 10: Long-term Contaminant Management Using Institutional Controls

April 26: Remediation Management of Complex Sites

May 3: Bioavailability of Contaminants in Soil: Considerations for Human Health Risk Assessment

New Vapor Intrusion Guidance Featured on April Issues & Trends Conference Call

The DNR’s Remediation and Redevelopment Program brings back the Issues & Trends series at noon on April 4 with a conference call regarding the recently published guidance on vapor intrusion.

The guidance, Addressing Vapor Intrusion at Remediation & Redevelopment Sites in Wisconsin, RR-800, was revised in January 2018. During the next Issues & Trends event, vapor intrusion team leader Alyssa Sellwood will walk participants through key updates to RR-800 to familiarize callers with the new document. Alyssa will also discuss several topics related to vapor mitigation in greater detail, including mitigation in new construction and the importance of performance verification.

To join the conference call:

  • Dial 1-855-947-8255
  • Enter passcode 6612 745#
  • On April 4, 2018
  • At 12:00 p.m. CST

There is no cost to participate and no pre-registration is required.

Questions or comments in advance can be sent to Handouts or any other materials related to the April 4 conference call will be made available in advance at the RR Program’s Conference and Training web page.

Green Cleanups with Trees

Applications are due April 9 for the 2018 Wisconsin RPCs and DNR Great Lakes Basin Tree Planting Grant Program. The goal of the program is to increase tree planning in Wisconsin to mitigate the effects of the emerald ash borer and to help reduce runoff in urban communities. Phytoremediation efforts may be eligible.


All communities within the Wisconsin Great Lakes Basin are eligible, but this program will particularly target projects in communities:

  • Within emerald ash borer quarantines
  • Within watersheds with surface water quality concerns
  • On tribal lands
  • Within communities that are members of a Regional Planning Commission
  • Within areas of concern (AOCs) for beneficial use impairments
  • In Tree City USA communities

Just over $120,000 is available to help fund projects ranging in cost from $1,000 to $20,000.

Snapshot: February PECFA Financials

The Remediation and Redevelopment Program provides a monthly update on the status of claims and the overall budget of the Petroleum Environmental Cleanup Fund Award (PECFA) award program.

Below are the updated PECFA claim numbers for February 2018, including the number of claims received, claims paid, and the total dollar amount of claims paid in the current fiscal year.

  Number Value
Claims Received 66 $411,896
Claims Paid 50 $215,869
Claims in audit line (as of February 28) 41 $215,869
Total Paid FY18   $3,800,975

Wisconsin Assessment Monies Program Assists Communities with Brownfields Assessment

Many communities in Wisconsin have properties with known or suspected contamination that could benefit from environmental assessment to help move those properties from underused to productive. The Wisconsin DNR’s Remediation and Redevelopment Program may be able to help.

Through the Wisconsin Assessment Monies program – or WAM – the DNR provides professional environmental site assessments to local governments, tribes and to private entities in select circumstances to help them to turn properties around and ready them for new uses. Participation in the WAM program requires minimal effort by local governments. Because there is no financial match or project administration involved, the award is an attractive opportunity for communities.

Applications for WAM services are accepted on an ongoing basis. Properties eligible for funding include closed or closing manufacturing plants, or vacant land with a history of manufacturing.  Gas stations, dry cleaners and salvage yards are not eligible. Sites assisted by WAM are generally less than 10 acres and have petroleum or hazardous substance contamination that can be assessed for less than $35,000. 

Please call Tom Coogan, the WAM program administrator, at 608-267-7560 or email Tom to discuss eligibility requirements or for more information.



NR 700 Technical Focus Group Meeting March 12

The NR 700 Technical Focus Group will meet on March 12 in Madison. This group meets on an as needed basis to discuss technical issues and the application of our NR 700 series of administrative rules to the realities that consultants encounter while working on the investigation and cleanup of soil and groundwater contamination. Any consultant or other interested party may attend to listen or to speak with the DNR about the cleanup and redevelopment of contaminated properties.

Meeting logistics and agenda can be found on the NR 700 Technical Focus Group website ( search “NR 700 technical focus group”). Please note: Attendees must check-in at the visitors desk on the first floor. A conference call number is also available. Please RSVP to Judy Fassbender if planning to attend.


Public Input Opportunity – Wis. Admin. Code ch. NR 712 Certifications

The RR Program seeks your input on a draft document for use by persons who hire and those that provide services associated with conducting certain environmental response actions in Wisconsin. It identifies the professional qualifications and certifications for performing and supervising work required by Wis. Admin. Code ch. NR 712, and the requirement for certifying specific submittals for actions conducted under Wis. Stat. ch. 292 and Wis. Admin. Code chs. NR 700 – 754. The current version of the rule has been in effect since November 2013 when Wis. Admin. Code § NR 712.03(1) was amended to add the requirement that a “hydrogeologist” also must be licensed as a hydrologist or registered as a geologist with the Wisconsin Department of Safety and Professional Services.

The document can be reviewed at and comments can be submitted through April 4, 2018 to the Brownfields and Outreach Section Chief, Christine Haag at In addition, the RR Program will host a question and answer session on the qualification and certification requirements in Wis. Admin. Code ch. NR 712 as part of the NR 700 Technical Focus Group meeting scheduled for March 12, 2018. Meeting logistics and agenda can be found on the NR 700 Technical Focus Group website ( search “NR 700 technical focus group”).  Please note: Attendees must check-in at the visitors desk on the first floor. A conference call number is also available. Please RSVP to Judy Fassbender if planning to attend,

RR Program’s Brownfields Conference for Local Government Returns May 10 to Stevens Point

Registration is now open for the 2018 Brownfields Conference for Local Government: Revitalization Tools and Techniques – Getting to Groundbreaking, coming May 10 to the Stevens Point Holiday Inn Convention Center.

This day-long event will cover a variety of cleanup and redevelopment topics of interest to communities across the state, including:

  • Local government success stories and lessons learned
  • The real estate developer’s perspective
  • The DNR’s brownfields toolbox
  • Federal and state resources for brownfields redevelopment
  • Environmental consultant and community relationships

“The DNR’s Remediation and Redevelopment program is honored to once again host local government officials and non-profit representatives at this event,” said Christine Haag, Brownfields and Outreach Section Chief at the DNR. “We enjoy strong partnerships with many communities across the state. This conference is a chance for us to come together and share the collective knowledge and skills regarding the community’s role in environmental cleanups and the productive reuse of brownfields.”

Registration for the 2018 Brownfields Conference for Local Government is limited and reserved for government officials and non-profit representatives through April 15 at the rate of $35. The following day, registration increases to $50 and is open to all guests. (Please note: technical topics will not be discussed during this conference; Consultants’ Days events will return in the spring of 2019.)

To learn more about the conference and to stay up to date with the latest information, please visit the RR Program’s conference and training web page.