Author: elisabethkuisis

WEDC Reduces Local Grant-Matching Amounts for Brownfield Projects in Rural Communities

Brownfields are former industrial and commercial properties that are now idle or underused, where the existence or possibility of environmental contamination is, at least in part, inhibiting redevelopment. They exist in every community. State grants and loans are available to help assess, investigate, and clean up these properties.

The Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) offers two popular brownfield grant programs. Their Site Assessment Grant (SAG) Program helps communities conduct initial property research and data gathering activities on brownfield properties. Their Brownfields Grant Program funds environmental cleanup work.

The WEDC recently announced an increase in SAG funding for FY19, to $1.5 million, and approved another allocation of $5 million for Brownfield Grants. They also significantly reduced the local government’s required match amount for rural communities to just 20% for SAG awards, and 50% for cleanup grants.

In addition to the WEDC grants, the DNR offers environmental consultant services through the Wisconsin Assessment Monies (WAM) grant program with no local match required, and cleanup funding through the Ready for Reuse grant and loan program with 20% local match and 0% loans.

The DNR and the WEDC work together to help communities address brownfield properties. Contact the DNR to set up a Green Team meeting to discuss your projects.

 

Snapshot: August PECFA Financials

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

Number Value
Claims Received 67 $407,230
Claims Paid 131 $565,099
Claims in audit line (as of August 31, 2018) 5 $33,380
Total Paid Biennium to Date $7,231,590

 

Fund for Lake Michigan Now Accepting Pre-Proposals

The Fund for Lake Michigan is now accepting pre-proposals for its Fall 2018 grant period.

Pre-Proposals are due on or before September 24, 2018. The proposals must be submitted through the Fund’s online grants management system. Invitations to submit full proposals will be sent out in October.

The Fund for Lake Michigan is seeking projects that enhance the health of Lake Michigan and its tributaries through habitat restoration, pollutant reduction, stream restoration and improvements to coastal areas in Wisconsin.

Grants are made only to 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations and to governmental agencies. Geographically, Fund for Lake Michigan grants are targeted to the Lake Michigan shoreline, near shore areas and watersheds within the Lake Michigan basin in Wisconsin. The Fund for Lake Michigan will also consider a small number of grants outside the Lake Michigan watershed and within the Madison Gas and Electric’s service territory.

Question about the program or the grant process can be directed to Casey Eggleson.

RR Program Phasing Out the Term “GIS Registry”

The words “GIS Registry” were removed from such popular Remediation and Redevelopment (RR) Program resources as RR Sites Map, BRRTS on the Web (BOTW), and the Case Closure Form (please note that the content and requirements of the Case Closure form did not change).

This is a deliberate and ongoing effort by the RR Program to update the outdated term “GIS Registry.” Instead, you may see or hear staff refer to the “Continuing Obligations Packet” (formerly the GIS Registry Packet), “database fees” instead of GIS fees, or “the database,” when discussing where to find information about sites with continuing obligations.

Regardless of how it’s stated, all sites with residual contamination and/or continuing obligations are required to be listed on the Wisconsin Remediation and Redevelopment Database (WRRD), comprised of BOTW and RR Sites Map.

In the coming months, RR Program staff will continue to remove “GIS Registry” from our forms and documents. Most of the RR Program web pages are already updated. If you have any questions please contact Jenna Soyer, the Fiscal and Information Technology section chief, at 608-267-2465 or Jenna.Soyer@wisconsin.gov.

Snapshot: July PECFA Financials and FY18 Total

The Remediation and Redevelopment Program provides monthly updates on the status of Petroleum Environmental Cleanup Fund Award (PECFA) claims and the overall PECFA budget. Below are the updated PECFA numbers for July 2018 and the total for Fiscal Year 2018 (July 1, 2017 through June 30, 2018).

Number Value
Claims Received 133 $947,426
Claims Paid 80 $813050
Claims in audit line (as of June 2018) 70 $318,846
Total Paid FY18 $5,859,948

 

Two Hydrogeologist Positions Open in Northeast DNR Office

The DNR’s Remediation and Redevelopment (RR) Program has two Hydrogeologist positions to fill in the Northeast office, located in Green Bay. The positions will be filled at either the entry level or senior level, depending on the position and the candidate’s qualifications.

See job announcement for details on position descriptions and how to apply. The deadline to apply for either position is August 30, 2018.

The candidate for the senior level position will provide geologic and hydrogeologic expertise and oversight for investigation and remediation of contamination sites. The candidate will provide interpretation and implementation advice on the rules, regulations and guidance documents concerning environmental investigations and clean-ups as well as brownfield redevelopment efforts. Duties include evaluating and approving work on complex sites often having program-wide policy impacts.

The candidate for the entry level position will provide technical advice and recommendations regarding environmental programs to management, co-workers, other Department programs, State agencies, local communities and the public. The primary duty and responsibility of this position is to support and provide recommendations to the RR Program at the regional level. There are two entry level positions to choose from: with or without the limited responsibility of back up Regional Spill Coordinator for the RR Program.

Coastal Management Grants Available – Informational Workshops Scheduled

Wisconsin’s coastal communities are encouraged to apply for grants from the Wisconsin Coastal Management Program (WCMP). The WCMP is currently accepting proposals to enhance, preserve, protect and restore resources within the coastal zone – counties adjacent to Lakes Superior and Michigan – and anticipates awarding up to $1.5 million.

Applications for the WCMP grants are due November 2, 2018. Three workshops are planned in the coming days to discuss the grant application process and funding priorities.

Tuesday, August 21
1:30 p.m.
Port of Milwaukee
2323 S. Lincoln Memorial Drive, Milwaukee
Milwaukee

Thursday, August 23
1:30 p.m.
Neville Public Museum
210 Museum Place
Green Bay

Tuesday, September 4
1:30 p.m.
Northern Great Lakes Visitor Center
29270 County Highway G
Ashland

The WCMP Grants are available for coastal wetland protection and habitat restoration, nonpoint source pollution control, coastal resource and community planning, Great Lakes education, public access and historic preservation.

Applicants are encouraged to contact WCMP staff early to discuss ideas for project proposals and application requirements.

Application materials and the Request for Proposals are available on the WCMP website or if you have specific questions, you can call the WCMP at 608-267-7982.

Two Employment Opportunities: Vapor Intrusion and Sediment Team Leader Positions Open

The Wisconsin DNR seeks to fill two positions with the Remediation and Redevelopment (RR) Program: Sediment Team Leader and Vapor Intrusion Team Leader.

The deadline to apply for the Sediment Team Leader position is August 20, 2018.

The deadline to apply for the Vapor Intrusion Team Leader position is August 21, 2018 

Sediment Team Leader – This technical position is responsible for providing critical sediment related expertise in the Policy and Technical Resources Section of the RR Program. This person functions as an RR Program expert on assessment of sediment investigation and remediation, leading the Integrated Sediment Team, establishing clean up goals, ensuring consistent use of caps and covers to address contaminated sediment, establishing continuing obligations related to sediments, and developing policy related to all aspects of contaminated sediments.

Vapor Intrusion Team Leader – This advanced technical position serves as the RR Program’s lead worker and team leader for assessment of vapor intrusion, mitigation to address vapor exposure pathways, and development of policy related to all aspects of vapor intrusion. This person will also lead the program in assessment, mitigation, remediation and policy development related to emerging contaminants. This person develops and interprets administrative rules, guidance documents, and technical documents related to the assessment, mitigation and remediation of vapor phase contamination, evaluation and implementation of remedial technologies to address chlorinated solvents, other vapor sources, and emerging contaminant impacts.

The position announcements for the Sediment Team Leader and Vapor Intrusion Team Leader jobs contain additional information.

Updated Case Closure Reconsideration Guidance Now Available

The RR Program recently updated the fact sheet Wis. Admin. Code ch. NR 726 Case Closure Reconsideration Process (RR-102). The DNR’s responses to comments received during the public comment period for the draft are available on the DNR website until August 20, 2018.

The purpose of this document is to provide responsible parties (RPs) with guidance on the opportunities available to engage the department to receive feedback on the adequacy of the Wis. Admin. Code chs. NR 700-754 response actions undertaken and submitted by the RP to document case closure. This guidance presents the process and feedback opportunities available if case closure is not recommended by the department. This general process is referred to as the case closure reconsideration process.

More information about case closure is available on the DNR’s web page, Resources for Environmental Professionals.

Environmental Liability Exemptions for Local Governments – Related to Redevelopment

Counties, cities, villages and towns, along with RDAs, CDAs, other local governmental units, can fairly easily obtain environmental liability exemptions, civil immunity, and cost recovery authority in Wisconsin when taking title to unproductive/abandoned industrial and commercial properties.

These protections are explicitly authorized by multiple sections in Wis. Statutes Ch. 292, and are designed to enable local governments to take action to stimulate redevelopment activities at contaminated or potentially contaminated properties when the private market is not providing enough capital and economic activity to achieve the desired level of community improvement on its own.

Remediation and Redevelopment Program staff are available to help local government officials understand and use these robust statutory tools, as well as identify financial assistance opportunities for environmental investigation and cleanup work. The DNR’s Green Team meetings are a good way to get started on your first, or next, redevelopment project.

The DNR publication Local Government Environmental Liability Exemptions in Wisconsin (RR-055) provides an overview of several local government environmental liability exemptions, and lists types of documentation that the DNR typically requests to confirm that the exemption is in effect.