Window Closing on PECFA Reimbursement Program; PECFA on Track to End June 30, 2020

Time is running out on a 30-year old reimbursement program that has helped clean up more than 10,000 petroleum-contaminated properties in Wisconsin.

Funded through a portion of a $0.02/gallon gasoline tax, the Petroleum Environmental Cleanup Fund Award (PECFA) program is scheduled to end in just under two years, on June 30, 2020, as authorized under Wis. Act 55 (2015).

As the end of PECFA approaches, the Remediation and Redevelopment Program offers these important reminders:

  • No new applicants. The program was closed to new applicants as of July 20, 2015. Only applicants that received eligibility on or before that date can submit claims for reimbursement.
  • Timely claim submittal. Claimants and consultants planning to seek reimbursement for costs incurred on PECFA-eligible projects are reminded that they have 180 days from the day the expense was incurred, but no later than June 30, 2020, whichever occurs first, to submit the claim to the DNR. If a claim for costs incurred is not submitted within this deadline, the costs will not be eligible for PECFA reimbursement.
  • Liability for cleanup doesn’t end when the program expires. The responsible party’s obligation to address environmental contamination associated their site continues whether PECFA reimbursement funding is available or not. Therefore, the DNR highly encourages responsible parties to complete PECFA-eligible cleanup work as soon as possible.
  • Reaching the finish line. By now, all PECFA-eligible sites should have an approved remedial action plan in place and be actively implementing remedial action (if not already complete.) Eight rounds of quarterly groundwater monitoring is required unless otherwise directed for case closure. Currently there are only eight quarters left remaining in the PECFA program.

If you have site-specific questions, please contact the project manager assigned to the site. Other PECFA-related questions may be directed to Jenna.Soyer@wisconsin.gov.

Employment Opportunity: Business Services Coordinator

The Remediation and Redevelopment Program is hiring a Business Services Coordinator (Natural Resource Program Specialist 1).

The deadline to apply for this position is July 25, 2018.

This position will serve as the financial and records specialist for the program in the Fiscal and IT Section, located in the central office (Madison), but with statewide responsibilities. Specifically, this position will work closely with the Contract Coordinator and Budget Manager on owner financial responsibility, contracting, billing, deductibles and liens; and with RR management on proper retention of records and fulfilling open records requests.

This position will also provide programmatic and policy support to the program directors and section chiefs.

PECFA U&C Schedule #24 Now Available

The Usual & Customary Cost Standardized Invoice and Task Reference Guide #24 are now posted for July 2018 through December 2018 on the DNR’s PECFA web page, under the “Reimbursement” tab.

Please note the following updates:

  • NEW Task 1 – Subtask GS06 – Provides for cost of bailer when sampling a well with LNAPL
  • Task 2 clarification – Update from annual to semi-annual reporting
  • Task 3 – Combined LAR05 into LAR06
  • Task 6 – Clarification that a site investigation report must be received before a letter report/addendum can be claimed.
  • NEW Task 8 – Subtasks WAB31 – Provides for mobilization and labor for vapor point abandonment.
  • Task 15 – MDT41 – Changed private utility locate to actual costs.
  • Task 14 – Added guidance on submitting variance requests for excavations over $10,000
  • Task 27 – Additional guidance on what documentation is required at claim time.
  • NEW Task 37 – New task providing for standard costs for vapor point installation and sampling for 5 or less vapor points (assumed to be one day of work).

Please review RR-100 UCCS Task Reference Guide #24 for additional information.

EPA Solicitation for 2018 BUILD Act Comments

The Brownfields Utilization, Investment and Local Development (BUILD) Act was enacted on March 23, 2018 as part of the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2018. The BUILD Act reauthorized EPA’s Brownfields Program, and made amendments to the 2002 Small Business Liability Relief and Brownfields Revitalization Act.  Authorized changes affect brownfields grants, ownership and liability provisions, and state and tribal response programs. EPA is developing policy guidance to implement the BUILD Act.

https://www.epa.gov/brownfields/brownfields-broadcast

As part of this process, the EPA is soliciting comment on three provisions in the BUILD Act:

  1. The authority to increase the per-site cleanup grant amounts to $500,000;
  2. The new multi-purpose grant authority; and
  3. The new small community assistance grant authority.

Comments will be accepted through July 10, 2018 to BUILDAct@epa.gov.

NR 700 Semi-Annual Reporting Due Soon

Semi-annual reporting for the period of January 1, 2018 to June 30, 2018 is due July 31, 2018. Semi-annual reporting is required of responsible parties (RPs) for all “open” sites, including those sites the DNR formerly classified as “conditionally closed,” in the BRRTS online database. Consultants may submit these reports on behalf of the RPs.

An email from the DNR with your unique report identification number will go out on July 2, 2018. If you do not receive an email, you can request a number by submitting the Report ID Request Form. The Report ID number you will receive uniquely identifies the activity for which you wish to report, the reporting period, and verifies the person using the ID is authorized to submit the report. If you have any questions, please contact Tim Zeichert at (608) 266-5788.

Semi-annual reports are required by state law of persons who meet the definition of responsible party in NR 700. Therefore, property owners, such as local governments that have an exemption under Wis. Stats. §§292.11(9)(e) or 292.23 and lenders that have an exemption under Wis. Stats. §292.21 for specific properties are not required to submit a semi-annual report under state law for those exempt properties.

Sites formerly classified by the DNR as “conditionally closed” sites (e.g., investigative waste needs to be removed) are those that have not been granted case closure and, by definition, have remaining action(s) needed (e.g, properly abandoning monitoring wells). Semi-annual reporting for these otherwise open sites should indicate what actions are being taken to complete the remaining actions and when they’ll be taken.

This semi-annual reporting requirement replaces PECFA annual web reporting. Consultants and responsible parties were previously required to inform the agency of the progress and the estimated cost of work remaining in the investigation for PECFA-eligible sites. Now, submission of the semi-annual online form satisfies PECFA’s requirement to report progress. A separate PECFA web report is not required.

The next reporting period is from July 1, 2018 to December 31, 2018. Reports for that period will be due approximately January 31, 2019. A future RR Report will have specific details.

This information is also available on the RR Program website under “Audience-specific resources.”

Soil RCL Calculator Updates – June 2018

The Wisconsin DNR’s Remediation and Redevelopment Program recently updated the numerical soil standards in its spreadsheet of residual contaminant levels (RCLs). The RCLs were determined using the U.S. EPA regional screening level web-calculator.

A summary of the changes to the RCLs is in a new document, titled “RR Program’s Soil RCL Spreadsheet Update,” publication number RR-052g.

For more information and to access the RCL spreadsheet (macro and non-macro versions), visit the Wisconsin DNR’s Resources for Environmental Professionals web page and click on the “Soil RCLs” tab.

Economic Development on Brownfields Workshop Announced

You’re invited to a workshop about economic development on brownfield properties, to be held at the County Community Building in DeKalb, Illinois, on July 25, 2018, from 9:15 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. DeKalb is about 60 minutes south of Beloit. The workshop is free but registration is required by July 20. Lunch will be provided.

This workshop will help communities gain a better understanding of what a brownfield is, learn how brownfield revitalization can be a part of your community’s economic development strategy, and hear from state and national leaders about resources available to your community. Some of the material will be Illinois-specific, but most of it is broadly applicable to all brownfield properties everywhere.

Workshop presenters include a brownfields expert from U.S. EPA’s Technical Assistance to Brownfields (TAB) program. This person also serves and consults with Wisconsin communities. TAB services and federal funding opportunities will be discussed in detail.

For more information about this workshop, and to register, go to https://www.ksutab.org/education/workshops/details?id=300

Brownfields Study Group Celebrates 20 Years

Created in the state budget as a one-year project to help the governor, legislators and state agencies further understand the unique challenges of taking on the cleanup and redevelopment of contaminated properties, the Wisconsin Brownfields Study Group now celebrates 20 years as a state and national model for stakeholder involvement.

The group is comprised of local government officials, academia and representatives from the private sector, and is facilitated by Department of Natural Resources staff.

Continue reading “Brownfields Study Group Celebrates 20 Years”

Public Input Opportunity: PECFA Usual & Customary Schedule #24

The Remediation and Redevelopment (RR) Program seeks your input on the Usual & Customary (U&C) Task Reference Guide #24 (RR-100) and U&C Schedule #24 (RR-10a). Both documents are available on the Wisconsin DNR’s proposed program guidance web page.

Comments on these documents are due by June 25, 2018, and may be directed to Jenna.Soyer@wisconsin.gov.

Document updates include new tasks for vapor point installation, guidance on excavations over $10,000, and an update to private utility locate reimbursable costs. Please see the public comment cover sheet for details.

Snapshot: May PECFA Financials

The Remediation and Redevelopment Program provides a monthly update on the status of Petroleum Environmental Cleanup Fund Award (PECFA) claims and the overall budget of the PECFA award program. Below are the updated PECFA numbers for May 2018.

 

  Number Value
Claims Received 48 $440,432
Claims Paid 83 $425,032
Claims in audit line (as of May 31) 4 $20,866
Total Paid FY18   $5,485,821