DNR Brownfields Annual Accomplishments Report Now Available

The Wisconsin DNR’s final report summarizing efforts and accomplishments funded by a US EPA Section 128(a) Grant is now complete and available online.

The report, prepared by the Remediation and Redevelopment (RR) program’s Brownfields and Outreach section, highlights the work and major accomplishments that program staff and partners achieved during the September 1, 2017 to August 31, 2018 grant year.

Previous reports, including the recent mid-year update on 128(a) funded efforts, are also available on the RR program’s website.

“Our staff put a lot of time and effort into working on brownfields cleanup and redevelopment projects and policies throughout the year. We’re proud to present this comprehensive report on those efforts and we’re grateful to the US EPA for providing funds to help us with those projects,” said Christine Haag, Brownfields and Outreach section chief.

Asbestos Conference set for Dec. 6-7 in Wisconsin Dells

If you’re responsible for managing renovation or construction projects that include asbestos removal and related cleanup, the 2018 Wisconsin Asbestos Conference might be for you. The conference is taking place at the Kalahari Resort in Wisconsin Dells, December 6-7, 2018. Registration is now open.

 

The Wisconsin Asbestos Conference Committee is a joint venture between private and government entities in Wisconsin, supported by the Department of Natural Resources (Bureau of Air Management), the Wisconsin Department of Health Services (Asbestos and Lead Sections), the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (Madison), and the Environmental Information Association.

Learn more about the conference and register at https://wisconsinasbestosconference.org

DNR’s Natural Resources Magazine Highlights Spill Law, Brownfields Study Group

2018 marks the anniversaries of two things that shape and guide the Wisconsin DNR’s Remediation and Redevelopment Program: the Spill Law (Wis. Admin. Code Ch. 292) and the Brownfields Study Group. It’s the 40th anniversary of “292,” while the Study Group celebrates 20 years.

Both are highlighted in this article in the current edition of the DNR’s Wisconsin Natural Resources magazine.

Many of our RR Report readers have played a role in helping to shape Wisconsin’s brownfields policies, and have done the work to clean up and redevelop brownfield sites. The DNR recognizes your efforts, appreciates the partnerships, and looks forward to another successful 40 years.

RR Program Seeks Three Sediment Engineers

The Wisconsin DNR seeks to fill three (3) positions within the Remediation and Redevelopment (RR) program. Each position is for a contaminated sediments engineer, to be stationed in Milwaukee, Green Bay, or Spooner/Ashland/Superior.

The deadline to apply for these positions is Wednesday, October 17, 2018.

Additional details can be found under the position announcement.

This position will provide technical expertise to environmental consultants, responsible parties and other RR project managers when developing, coordinating and evaluating contaminated sediment remediation projects. This position will also work with RR staff to develop a statewide, comprehensive contaminated sediment strategy.

To learn more, please read the detailed position description.

Important PECFA Claim Processing Update: Revised Process for IRS W-9 and STAR Vendor Forms

The State of Wisconsin’s financial system requires accurate and up-to-date tax information to ensure timely payment of invoices and reimbursement of claims related to the PECFA program. The Department of Administration (DOA) updated the STAR Vendor form to better address needed changes to claimant information (i.e. address, change of tax identification number, change of name, etc.) and to make the form more user friendly.

As of September 26, 2018, existing claimants are only required to submit the IRS W-9 form with their claims, provided there are no updates to the name, address or tax identification number previously submitted. If updates are needed to the claimant information, or if you have any questions about this new procedure, please contact Adrian Herrera for the appropriate forms to fill out and submit. Accuracy of information will be checked during the claim audit process and claimants will be contacted if W-9 information does not match the claimant information on file.

The new supplier information update forms are available on the DNR’s PECFA web page under the “Documents” tab.

CLARIFICATION: Claimants are still required to submit a new W-9 at the beginning of every year, whether or not the information changes. A copy of the most current W-9 must be included with every claim (i.e. the W-9 should have a signature and date in the year of the claim submittal). If changes to the claimant’s information are needed throughout the year, please see article above.

Updating the Environmental Services Contractor List

One of the Remediation and Redevelopment Program’s many publications is the Environmental Services Contractors List, (DNR publication RR-024).

This is a self-identifying list of environmental consultants that the Program maintains and makes available on its “resources for private parties” web page. Also, staff provide this document to people if they ask for a consultant recommendation.

To have your consulting firm added to the document, or to update information that’s already there, please contact Deena Kinney. In your email, provide the following:

  • Name of firm
  • Address
  • City, state, zip code
  • Phone number
  • Fax number (if applicable)

Staff cull the list if they are aware of firm closings, consolidations, or other significant changes. If your contact information requires updating, please let us know.

Brownfields Study Group Meeting September 28

The Wisconsin Brownfields Study Group will meet on September 28, 2018 in Madison. The meeting will be held at the Dane County UW-Extension building from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. An agenda for the meeting is posted on the group’s web page.

The Study Group meeting is open to the public; no RSVP is necessary.

The Study Group celebrates its 20th anniversary in 2018. It was created by the State Legislature to help the DNR develop solutions and strategies to increase the number of contaminated properties that were cleaned up and returned to productive use. The group meets a few times a year and has members from the private sector, local governments, non-profits and others.

If you have questions about this meeting or the Study Group, please contact Mick Skwarok, (608) 266-9263.

Internet Explorer Browser is the Solution to Your “Fillable PDF Forms” Problem

The Wisconsin DNR – including the Remediation and Redevelopment Program – uses a variety of “fillable PDF forms” to collect information from customers. However, these Adobe PDF fillable forms are not compatible with many internet browsers, except for Microsoft Internet Explorer.

If you are unable to open any of the DNR’s fillable forms (for example, the Case Closure form), you can likely resolve the issue by changing your internet browser to Internet Explorer. There is currently no issue with opening publications and other non-fillable PDF documents in other browsers.

The conflict is between Adobe and non-Internet Explorer browsers. Some Internet browsers use a PDF viewer that does not support fillable PDF forms. In particular, Chrome, Microsoft Edge, and Safari generally use their own version of PDF viewers rather than Adobe’s. Using Microsoft Internet Explorer [exit DNR] version 10 or higher will usually resolve the issue.

Also, please note that fillable PDF forms are only supported on desktop versions of Internet Explorer 10. Those forms will not work with mobile devices.

To complete and save all PDF forms provided on the DNR’s website, please be sure your device is running Adobe Reader [exit DNR] version 8 or higher.

Additional information is on the DNR’s Portable Document Format web page.

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