General Program Announcements

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.

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.

Racine to Use DNR Brownfield Assessment Funds to Aid Uptown Redevelopment

Efforts to assess possible contamination at a decades-old industrial site in Racine’s uptown area will get a boost with a recently issued brownfields grant from the Department of Natural Resources.

The award comes from the DNR Wisconsin Assessment Monies (WAM) program, and will provide for contractor services worth approximately $20,000. The work will help the Redevelopment Authority of the City of Racine (RDA) assess possible contamination, leading to a potential cleanup and eventual reuse of the site.

Brownfields site in Racine.

Racine assessed this brownfield site in the uptown area with help from a WAM award worth $20,000 in contractor services.

The nearly one-acre site on 13th Street has a long history of various industrial uses. It was most recently the site of a laundry service for the health care and hospitality industries. Historic records from the Racine Fire Department indicate that a 500-gallon underground fuel oil tank was located on or near the property.

With the RDA ready to promote the property, an investigation of the environmental conditions on the site will help put the group in a better position of securing a buyer and returning the site to productive economic status.

“As Racine continues to redevelop former industrial sites, the DNR is proud to be part of the city’s future,” said Christine Haag, chief of the DNR brownfields section. “This WAM grant could be just the leverage that the RDA needs to help turn this property around and get it on track for the next generation of use.”

Administered by the DNR Remediation and Redevelopment Program, WAM awards provide communities with professional environmental site assessments of properties with known or perceived contamination. The program is funded through a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency brownfields assessment grant.

Participation in the WAM program requires minimal effort by local governments. Because there is no financial match or project administration involved, the program is an attractive opportunity for communities. In many instances, WAM awards are leveraged with other sources of funding to kick-start repurposing efforts on properties that may have been underutilized for many years.

Applications can be submitted for WAM awards at any time. Properties eligible for funding include closed or closing manufacturing plants, or vacant land with a history of manufacturing.

For more information, contact Tom Coogan at 608-267-7560 or Thomas.Coogan@wisconsin.gov.  

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.

Last Chance to Register for Brownfields Grant-Writing Workshop in La Crosse

Join the Wisconsin DNR and Minnesota Brownfields in La Crosse, on Aug. 1, 2018, for a free, full-day workshop on writing successful EPA grant applications. Get the information you need to compete effectively for these property investigation and cleanup funds — and get a head-start on your proposal for the upcoming fall grant opportunity.

Who should attend? Local and regional government officials, not-for-profit economic and community development organizations, tribes, and any other entity interested in applying for federal grants to assist with the assessment, cleanup, and redevelopment of under-performing commercial and industrial properties in their community.

More information about the workshop is available HERE, and a link to the registration form is available HERE. Lunch is provided too!

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.

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.”