The Wisconsin Assessment Monies (WAM) program helps address brownfields sites throughout the state where closed or closing industrial plants are acting as impediments to economic redevelopment. The DNR’s Remediation and Redevelopment Program provides assistance by offering contractor services for completion of Phase I and II environmental assessments and limited site investigation. This program helps jump-start the process of turning properties around and getting them ready for new uses. Minimal project administration is required by the recipient and there are no matching funds required.
WAM is made available by a grant from the U.S. EPA at the request of the DNR and Wisconsin’s Regional Planning Commissions (jointly, the Wisconsin Brownfields Coalition).
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. Applications for WAM services are accepted on an ongoing basis.
For more information about WAM, including eligibility requirements:
Email Tom at Thomas.Coogan@Wisconsin.gov
The Royster Clark project benefited from several financial incentives including the DNR’s Ready for Reuse program.
After more than 200 environmental reports and approvals over the course of ten years, the Wisconsin DNR issued a final Certificate of Completion for the former Royster-Clark facility in Madison. The Certificate of Completion was issued in March 2017 when the Wisconsin DNR approved the final investigation and remedial action and provided a liability exemption through the Voluntary Party Liability Exemption (VPLE) program.
The 27 acre Royster-Clark facility was once a fertilizer factory operating from 1952 until it closed in 2006. In 2011, Ruedebusch Development and Construction (RDC), a Madison-based real estate developer, purchased the property and took on the task of cleanup and redevelopment of the unique project.
The cleanup included contamination from leaking underground storage tanks and the excavation of more than 50,000 tons of nitrogen-contaminated soil removed from the site. The property went through extensive meetings, planning and approvals from the neighborhood association and the city of Madison. The redevelopment, some of which is already complete, includes affordable housing, market rate apartments, and commercial development, including a new public library branch and potential grocery store. The project also includes 50+ lots ready for single family homes.
The cleanup project benefited from several financial incentives including the Wisconsin DNR’s Ready for Reuse program, which is funded through a RLF brownfields grant from the EPA, Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation grants, and funding from the city of Madison.
As part of CDFA’s Brownfields Technical Assistance Program, the Brownfield Financing Webinar Series will include three 90-minute webinars over the year and will focus on effective use of brownfields and redevelopment financing tools, while highlighting best practices, case studies, and CDFA’s technical assistance program participants. This series is designed for professionals who work directly with brownfield sites as well as economic development professionals and communities interested in shaping programs to enhance redevelopment financing opportunities.
The latest webinar of this series discusses the use of Private Activity Bonds (PABs) for brownfield redevelopment projects and how communities can use PABs strategically and in combination with other financing tools.
180 Days to Submit Claims
Claimants and consultants planning to seek reimbursement for costs incurred on PECFA-eligible projects are reminded that they have only 180 days from the day the expense was incurred to submit the claim to the Department. There is no extension on that deadline. If you hand-deliver a claim, please make sure to get a date stamp from the Department staff receiving the claim. In addition to the date it was hand delivered and date stamped, the Department will also consider the date of submittal to the Department to be the date it’s emailed, faxed or postmarked.
IRS Form 1099
PECFA applicants and/or claimants will receive a Form 1099-G from the Wisconsin Department of Revenue each year they receive a reimbursement. However, they do not have to pay taxes on PECFA reimbursement money. Although a taxpayer is not required to disclose the fact that an amount is being excluded from income on their return, the Form 1099-G is provided to the IRS. Therefore, it is in the taxpayer’s interest to include language on the return to explain the purpose of the reimbursement and how the amount is treated for tax purposes, making correspondence and/or invoices from the IRS less likely. Consultants and PECFA agents should provide this information to applicants/claimants.
Here’s an example of an applicable disclosure statement: “In (year) I received payments from the Wisconsin PECFA fund in the amount of $(amount). This payment is a reimbursement for costs incurred for environmental cleanup of gas/oil spill on my property. The $(amount) is excludable under Internal Revenue Code Section 126.”
The Remediation and Redevelopment Program has selected four environmental consulting firms to perform work for the agency’s Wisconsin Assessment Monies (WAM) Program. The WAM contractors are:
- AECOM – Milwaukee, Wis.
- The Sigma Group – Milwaukee, Wis.
- Bay West – Saint Paul, Minn.
- Ramaker & Associates – Sauk City, Wis.
Under the award, contractors will perform Phase I and Phase II environmental site assessments or, if warranted, limited site investigations.
Are you a local government representative searching for brownfield funding? Wondering what federal brownfield financial assistance is available beyond the EPA? In this webinar, Leveraging Resources for Brownfields Revitalization: Meet the Funders – Economic Development, you will hear from federal agencies such as the US Dept. of Housing and Urban Development, US Dept. of Agriculture-Rural Development and the US Economic Development Administration (part of US Dept. of Commerce), about practical and immediately useful information about the type of funding available and how to apply for it.
The DNR Remediation and Redevelopment program has prepared a biannual report on the Voluntary Party Liability Exemption (VPLE) program. The report, required by law, provides the legislature and the Governor information about the performance of the VPLE program. The Program, which has helped many brownfields redevelopment projects across the state, allows for anyone to conduct an environmental investigation and remedial action of an entire property with DNR oversight and receive exemptions from liability. The report is available here: http://dnr.wi.gov/files/PDF/pubs/rr/RR929.pdf
Three Wisconsin Assessment Monies (WAM) Contractor Services Awards were awarded to assess contamination at two former wood-processing plants and a former creamery in Clark, Lincoln and Rusk counties.
The projects are valued up to $18,000 each. The services will be used to determine soil and groundwater conditions at the former Owen Manufacturing wood-processing plant in Clark County; the former Hurd Manufacturing facility in Merrill/Lincoln counties; and at the former Sheldon Creamery in Rusk County.
See the full article for more information.
The DNR’s RR Program will continue to help communities assess their brownfield sites with the addition of a $600,000 grant from the US EPA’s Assessment, Revolving Loan Fund and Cleanup (ARC) grant program. The DNR, in partnership with the Wisconsin Brownfields Coalition (WBC), is one of four Wisconsin entities to receive an FY16 ARC grant, allowing the agency to continue providing assistance to communities through the Wisconsin Assessment Monies (WAM) program. The WAM program provides no-cost environmental assessments at sites that are poised for cleanup and redevelopment. The WBC includes the DNR and all nine Wisconsin Regional Planning Commissions.
In the EPA press release, Administrator Gina McCarthy says, “These grants will empower communities to transform idle, languishing lands into vibrant hubs for business, jobs, and recreation. It’s all about empowering that initial funding, and sparking that first conversation to set stalled sites on a path to smart, safe redevelopment that directly benefits communities.”