External Advisory Groups Help Guide, Shape DNR Policy

The Remediation and Redevelopment Program puts to good use the skills and knowledge of its customers by working together in a collaborative manner through a number of External Advisory Groups (EAG). In fact, it’s one of the core values of the agency. And with funding from the US EPA’s 128(a) grant, the Brownfields and Outreach Section assists these groups with messaging and keeping customers and the public informed.

Now in its 20th year of advising the agency is the Brownfields Study Group (BSG). The study group is one of the oldest EAGs, created in 1998 at the direction of the Governor and State Legislature to evaluate Wisconsin’s brownfields initiatives and recommend improvements, as well as propose additional incentives for brownfields redevelopment. The BSG continues to drive important brownfields policy changes in Wisconsin and among its successes can count the creation of the Site Assessment Grant Program, which awarded more than $18 million to more than 200 communities before it was transferred to a different agency. The group was also instrumental in developing the One Cleanup Program Agreement with Region 5 EPA, the most comprehensive agreement of its kind, which helps expedite cleanups of properties across the state.

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City of Manitowoc Receives EPA Brownfields Award

The cleanup and redevelopment of the former Mirro Aluminum factories in Manitowoc recently garnered the city an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) brownfields award during the recent National Brownfields Conference, held December 5-7 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Award recipients

Receiving the EPA award is Nicolas Sparacio from the city of Manitowoc. He is flanked by Michael Prager, RR Program Land Recycling Team Leader, Margaret Guerriero and Yolanda Bouchee-Cureton, both from the EPA.

The EPA recognized the city for its outstanding efforts to clean up and redevelop two former factories that the city was left with when the Mirro Aluminum Co. closed its manufacturing plants in Manitowoc in 2003. Through persistence and hard work, the city has been successful in transforming the former Mirro Plant No. 3 into loft apartments targeted towards the veteran community and artists. In addition, the city achieved a huge milestone by completing the demolition of the massive Mirro Plant No. 9 and preparing the land for development.

The Wisconsin DNR’s RR Program assisted with Manitowoc’s Mirro cleanups by providing both financial and technical assistance. A summary of the Mirro apartments project can be found in the Program’s 128a Mid-Year Report for 2015-2016.

To learn how RR staff can help with your community’s revitalization efforts, contact your regional Land Recycling team member and request a “Green Team” meeting.

Semi-annual Reporting Due Soon

Semi-annual reporting for the period of July 1, 2017 to December 31, 2017 is due February 2, 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 was sent during the first week of January 2018. If you did 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.

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 January 1, 2018 to June 30, 2018. Reports for that period will be due approximately July 31, 2018. A future RR Report post will contain specific details.

DNR’s RR Program Part of February FET Event

Department of Natural Resources speakers are scheduled to be part of the line-up for the Federation of Environmental Technologists (FET) 2018 Brownfields Development Seminar, scheduled for February 27, from 8:30 a.m. to 4:15 p.m., at the Country Springs hotel in Pewaukee.

The day-long event will feature a number of discussions related to contaminated land remediation and the redevelopment of former brownfields, including DNR environmental considerations for new construction; legal strategies for property acquisition; a discussion regarding the real estate development process; and a discussion on the governance and policy making that makes for livable communities.

The seminar is open to both members and non-members alike. Continuing education credits will be available.

Waterfront Brownfields Projects May Benefit from NFWF Grant

The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF), along with private and public partners, is accepting applications for the 2018 Five Star and Urban Waters Restoration Program.

The Five Star and Urban Waters program will award approximately $2 million in modest sized grants nationwide. Local governments and non-profit organizations can apply for this funding that can be used to assist with restoration of urban waterfront areas.

Applications are due January 31, 2018.

All application materials must be submitted online through the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation’s Easygrants system.

PECFA U&C Schedule #23 Available Online

The Usual & Customary Cost Standardized Invoice and Task Reference Guide #23 are now available for January 2018 through June 2018 on the DNR’s PECFA web page on the Reimbursement tab. Please note the following updates:

  • New Task 5 – Subtask CR25 will provide for a maximum reimbursement of $1,250 for the submittal of a closure request when required to be submitted concurrently with a Site Investigation Report.
  • Task 7 clarification – Only one regulatory may be claimed per year for the required tax forms.
  • Task 18 – Obsolete
  • Task 26 – Obsolete
  • Task 27 now provides for three (3) claim prep charges per year for active scopes of work.
  • Task 31 – Clarification on consultant overnight per diems.

Please review the UCCS Task Reference Guide #23 for additional information.

Reminder: New Mailing Address for PECFA

On June 30, 2018, the Remediation and Redevelopment Program will cease using P.O. Box 8044 for PECFA submittals. At that time, we will consolidate all incoming mail into the current program-wide mailbox.

Please begin using the following address as soon as possible:

Wisconsin DNR – RR/5
P.O. Box 7921
Madison, WI 53707-7921

The PECFA submittals address is now updated on all the forms.

 

Snapshot: December 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 December 2017, 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 77 $292,214
Claims Paid 71 $373,371
Claims in Audit Line
(as of December 31)
65 $346,944
Total Paid FY18 $3,196,105

 

Updates to Wisconsin Spill Law Help Promote Land Recycling

Last November, the Governor signed 2017 Act 70, which modified Wis. Stat. ch. 292 (Wisconsin’s “Spill Law”) to help encourage brownfield cleanup and redevelopment. The Act was based on recommendations made by the Brownfields Study Group in its 2015 report, Investing in Wisconsin.

Modifications to the Spill Law include:

  • Clarification that the off-site liability exemption applies if there is vapor intrusion impacting an off-site property (Wis. Stat. § 292.13(1m))
  • Changing the definition of “property” as it is used for Voluntary Party Liability Exemption (VPLE). The new definition is “…an area of real property that is included in an application to obtain an exemption under this section, made up of a legally identifiable parcel or legally identifiable contiguous parcels created in compliance with applicable laws.” (Wis. Stat. § 292.15(1)(c))
  • Specifying the process for changing the footprint for the VPLE “property” after an application has been submitted if the “property” is subdivided, combined with other properties or otherwise changed. (Wis. Stat. § 292.15(2)(at))

The DNR’s Remediation and Redevelopment Program’s role with brownfields redevelopment is not directly affected by many of the other provisions in the Act, such as changes to tax incremental districts (TID) requirements for environmental remediation; expansion of the property-assessed clean energy (PACE) financing option to include brownfield revitalization projects; expanded options to address tax delinquent brownfields and other provisions.

Program staff will make necessary changes to VPLE documents and webpages and work with the program’s Land Recycling Team to identify other actions needed to implement the changes.

More information on the bill, including descriptions of the provisions in the Act, can be found in Senate Bill 173.