Cleanup Tools

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.

New Features for RR Sites Map

RR Sites Map is the online companion to the DNR’s Remediation and Redevelopment database of known environmental contamination and cleanup cases in Wisconsin. It allows users to find sites visually and geographically, and then drill down into the database for further details, if desired. 

RR Sites Map Screenshot

RR Sites Map is part of the DNR’s Wisconsin Remediation and Redevelopment Database (WRRD), an inter-linked system tracking information on different contaminated land activities.

RR Sites Map works on desktop computers, phones, and other mobile devices. It’s a great way to get information about closed and continuing remediation activities.

The DNR seeks to continually improve user experiences with this application. Recent updates include:

  • Removed the “GIS Registry” layer group. 
    • The term “GIS Registry” was used in the past to refer to sites that were closed with residual contamination. The DNR now uses the term “Continuing Obligations”, along with a list of these obligations in the closure letter, to let the public know residual contamination exists and that some ongoing requirements exist to continue protecting public health. Sites with “Continuing Obligations” now have their own layer.
  • Added the new “Additional Site Information” layer group. 
    • This new layer group includes both the new “Continuing Obligations” layer and preexisting “Impacted Another Property” layer, which identifies sites with migrating contamination. 
  • Added aerial photos from 2017 to the base maps and image slider tool. 
  • Changed the name of the “Contaminated and Cleaned Up Sites” layer group to “Open & Closed Sites.” 
  • Added a “Layer Catalog” button to the data and tasks tab. 
    • After clicking the button, select the desired GIS data layers and they will appear in the left-side layers panel along with the default layer options.
    • New layer options include: DNR office locations; private water well locations; dual aquifers; landfills with 1,200-foot buffers; areas where special well casing is required; and other agency data such as soil types, hydric ratings and drainage classes.

Let us know how you use RR Sites Map, and please share your suggestions for improvement by emailing them to DNRRRBRRTSFeedback@wisconsin.gov.

Consultant Qualification List

Please note that the “consultant data record form” mentioned in Wis. Admin. Code ch. NR 734 is no longer used to create a “consultant qualification list” for consultants interested in providing professional services to the department. Projects undertaken by the RR program using state funds follow State of Wisconsin procurement laws (i.e. simplified bidding, request for bids, request for qualifications, and requests for proposals depending on the project type and scope), and these requests are posted on VendorNet for all consultants. The RR program does maintain a list of consultants who self-identify as those who are available to provide environmental services (RR-024). This list is available to the public. If you would like to be added to this list, please contact Deena Kinney at Deena.kinney@wisconsin.gov.

Clarification on Closure Packet Revision Submittals

The RR Program would like to clarify that when submitting revisions to a closure submittal as requested by the DNR project manager, the consultant need only submit the revised pages (both paper and electronic copies) to the DNR project manager and the regional email box. This will save both the consultant and DNR project manager time in reviewing only the necessary information. In order to ensure that revisions are properly tracked, consultants are asked to initial and date all pages of any revisions submitted. Guidance for Submitting Documents (RR-690) was updated to reflect this clarification (Case Closure Submittals #6 on page 3).

A Nod to the DNR’s VPLE Program in Coverage of Oak Creek’s New Lake Vista Park

Natural Resources Board tours Oak Creek

Oak Creek City Attorney Larry Haskin addresses the media and members of the Natural Resources Board during an August 2017 tour of Lake Vista Park in Oak Creek.

The city of Oak Creek plans to officially unveil its newest park this summer. It’s a prime location of nearly 100-acres that overlooks Lake Michigan and is the former site of a chemical plant that left a history of contamination when it closed.

The decades-long environmental cleanup was completed in 2014 using the DNR’s Voluntary Party Liability Exemption (VPLE) program. The VPLE program provided an incentive for the industrial owner to complete a cleanup that allowed the city to transform this former lakefront industrial site into a stunning new park with majestic views of the nearby lake.

You can listen to the story by Milwaukee Public Radio.

For more information about the DNR’s VPLE program, please contact Michael.Prager@wisconsin.gov.

 

Got Brownfields? Get a Green Team meeting!

meeting puzzle (transparent background)Teamwork can transform old, dilapidated industrial and commercial properties into economically and socially beneficial community assets. The DNR’s Remediation and Redevelopment Program is willing and able to be on your local government team. We have experience with thousands of successful revitalization projects, we have grant and loan funding available, and we can help bring other key stakeholders to your table at any stage of the process. Contact us today to set up a Green Team meeting and get things going.

Free Professional Brownfields Assistance for Local Governments

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency funds professional service providers around the country to help local governments and tribes affected by environmental issues at brownfield properties. These professionals are part of the Technical Assistance for Brownfields (TAB) program and serve as no-cost independent advisors and resource providers for community revitalization efforts.

Wisconsin is fortunate to have two very experienced and talented TAB service providers available to our communities. Margaret Renas, from the Chicago-based nonprofit Delta Institute, is a professional engineer with a great deal of environmental consulting and community redevelopment experience. Maggie Egbarts, from Kansas State University, is the TAB Coordinator for EPA Regions 5 and 7, and has many years of experience in environmental assessment, cleanup, regulatory compliance and revitalization activities.

Continue reading “Free Professional Brownfields Assistance for Local Governments”

Material Management Activity Type Now Available in BRRTS

A new tracking code entitled, Material Management (MM), has been created within the Bureau of Remediation and Redevelopment Tracking System (BRRTS) to identify sites and facilities that have accepted contaminated soil or other solid waste with an exemption from certain solid waste program requirements through Wis. Admin. Code §§ NR 718.12 or NR 718.15.

BRRTS numbers assigned to the MM activities codes will have a ‘15’- prefix.  Only the main actions (e.g., an interim or remedial actions) and continuing obligations (e.g., engineering control for direct contact threats) directly related to the material management activity will be tracked as an MM activity on the receiving site or facility.  All interim or remedial actions involving Wis. Admin. Code ch. NR 718 materials management will be concurrently tracked at the ERP or LUST source property where the contaminated material was excavated.  The exception would be for continuing obligations imposed on the site or facility receiving the material.

The MM tracking code was created to allow the public to use BRRTS on the Web (BOTW) to clearly identify sites or facilities where contaminated soil and other solid waste was received and how it is being managed.  For actions approved by DNR in April 2018 and forward, BOTW can be used to search for sites and facilities where a Wis. Admin. Code §§ NR 718.12/718.15 exemption was granted.  Only actions directly related to Wis. Admin. Code §§ NR 718.12 and 718.15 materials management will be listed in each MM activity, allowing users to efficiently obtain information specifically related to these activities.

An MM activity will be opened for sites and facilities where a Wis. Admin. Code §§ NR 718.12 or NR 718.15 exemption was granted after March 29, 2018.    At this time, the DNR does not intend to retroactively create MM activities at sites or facilities where Wis. Admin. Code §§ NR 718.12 or NR 718.15 exemptions were previously granted due to workload challenges.

Any questions regarding this process may be addressed to Paul Grittner at (608) 266-0941 or paul.grittner@wisconsin.gov.

Public Input Opportunity – Soil Management Guidance for Cleanups

The RR Program seeks your input on a revised, draft publication entitled “Clean Soil Management: A Self-Implementing Option for Soil Excavated During a Response Action under Wis. Admin. Code §§ NR 700 through NR 750” (RR-103). This draft guidance was revised based on comments received from the public. This revision is much narrower in scope than the last version that was sent out for public comment.  This guidance is different than, but related to, the NR 718 contaminated soil guidance.

In particular, this guidance is intended solely for use by responsible parties (RPs) who are managing soil excavated as part of a response action pursuant to Wis. Stats. ch. 292 and Wis. Admin. Code chs. NR 700 – 754.

The guidance does not apply to soil excavated as part of a construction project, utility project or transportation project.  However, if those projects also involve an NR 700 response action, this guidance only applies to the soil excavated as a direct result of the response action.

This draft guidance provides an optional approach for responsible parties and their environmental consultants to use when soil is characterized and excavated as part of a response action (i.e., cleanup action), and the soil does not need to be managed at a licensed solid waste facility or through a site-specific exemption in Wis. Admin. Code chs. NR 718 or the NR 500 rule series. This document provides responsible parties (RPs) more clarity on what types of substances – if identified in soil – could generally be managed as “clean soil” in accordance with state law without the department’s pre-approval or tracking.  However, the person placing or accepting the soil would need to comply with limited locational criteria. The department believes that providing this guidance will help responsible parties and their environmental consultants to save money, and make more timely and consistent decisions on how to manage this type of excavated soil during a Wis. Admin. Code ch. NR 700 cleanup action.

The document can be reviewed at http://dnr.wi.gov/news/input/guidance.html and comments can be submitted through May 13, 2018 to the Brownfields and Outreach Section Chief, Christine Haag at Christine.Haag@wisconsin.gov. In addition, the RR Program will host a question and answer session on this guidance scheduled for April 20, 2018, at 10:30 a.m. Meeting logistics and agenda can be found on the DNR’s public meetings calendar (dnr.wi.gov search “public meetings”).  Externals are encouraged to provide written comments, as formal note taking will not capture comments during the listening session. Please note: Attendees must check-in at the visitors desk on the first floor. A conference call number is also available. Please RSVP to Christine Haag (christine.haag@wisconsin.gov) if planning to attend.