“All Aboard!” Spooner’s Historic Roundhouse Revival

Spooner Roundhouse

Contaminated soils from around the Roundhouse were excavated and hauled off site to the old Spooner Landfill. The Roundhouse area was then capped and seeded. This area will be used for a public space. Spooner will be renovating the Roundhouse as a public space.

The city of Spooner, located in northwestern Wisconsin, pop. 2,700, has a rich railroad heritage. The city’s origin and colorful history is rooted in the railroad expansion of the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

Spooner was an important railroad center of the Chicago and North Western Railway for many years. A historic railway roundhouse, a surviving turntable, and other aspects of the original rail yard still exist. The Spooner roundhouse is one of the few remaining structures of its kind.

Several local and state organizations have collaborated for years on efforts to clean up environmental contamination and preserve this unique and historic landmark property. The land is in the “Museum District” which also includes the Railroad Memories Museum and the Wisconsin Canoe Heritage Museum. The Roundhouse property includes one of the only working turntables in the state. The Wisconsin Great Northern Railroad operates active tracks on the site.

Remediated dirt

The regulatory issues involved in this project were handled through a collaboration of the Wisconsin DNR’s R&R and Waste and Materials Management programs. The excavated soils were placed at the old Spooner Landfill and used as part of a recapping project. The contaminated soils remaining at the site were capped and seeded.

Many years of railroad activities and subsequent manufacturing uses led to concerns about possible environmental contamination on the property. Section 128(a) funding from the EPA contributed to several successful Green Team project meetings with the Wisconsin DNR, the city of Spooner, and other stakeholders. Section 128(a) funds also supported the Wisconsin DNR’s efforts to counsel the city on managing environmental liability and other communications with the city. Spooner further received Phase I ESA contractor services through the Wisconsin DNR’s Wisconsin Assessments Money (WAM) program, funded by the EPA ARC Assessment grants, prior to its acquisition of the roundhouse property.

Contaminated soils from around the roundhouse were excavated and disposed of at the old city landfill, as part of a recapping project. The roundhouse property was then capped and seeded. The property will be open to the public, and the city of Spooner is also renovating the roundhouse as a public space.

Roundhouse turntable

The Roundhouse property includes one of the only working turntables in the state.

The success of this northern Wisconsin cleanup site is highlighted in the recent year-end Report, a summary of the outcomes funded by a Section 128(a) grant from the US EPA made to the Wisconsin DNR’s Brownfields program. Previous 128(a) reports, including mid-year and year-end summaries going back to 2012, can be found on the DNR’s RR Program web page.

 

PFAS Fact Sheets from ITRC

Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are a class of emerging contaminants known to impact groundwater and surface water. The information surrounding toxicity, laboratory methods, investigations, and remediation strategies is evolving, and the Interstate Technology and Regulatory Council (ITRC) recently published three technical factsheets summarizing current information on PFAS.  The fact sheets are available online.

These fact sheets specifically relate to:
1. History and Use
2. Regulations, Guidance, and Advisories
3. Naming Conventions and Physical and Chemical Properties

Later this month, ITRC plans to finalize three additional guidance documents on Fate and Transport, Site Characterization, and Remediation, which will be made available on the ITRC website.

Snapshot: November PECFA Financials

The Remediation and Redevelopment Program provides a monthly update on the status of claims and the overall budget of the Petroleum Environmental Cleanup Fund Award (PECFA) award program.

Below are the updated PECFA claim numbers for November 2017, including the number of claims received, claims paid, and the total dollar amount of claims paid in the current fiscal year.

  Number Value
Claims Received 93 $364,769
Claims Paid 140 $544,365
Claims in audit line (as of November 30) 76 $333,066
Total Paid FY18   $2,805,396

 

RR Seeks Applicants for Contracts and Financial Coordinator Position

The Wisconsin DNR seeks to fill a position with the Remediation and Redevelopment (RR) Program in the downtown Madison office.

The deadline to apply is December 13, 2017. 

Contracts and Financial Coordinator – This professional position has primary responsibility for managing all RR program Environmental Repair Fund contracts (including emergency response) which involves bidding, invoice processing, budget development, requisitions, work planning, and tracking. This position is responsible for payment of claims for the Petroleum Environmental Cleanup Fund Award (PECFA) program, and management and payment of professional services and construction contracts paid for with federal EPA and Dept. of Defense grants. This position serves as the Program’s primary financial specialist, working closely with the Fiscal and Information Technology (FIT) Section Chief and Grant and Budget Manager to ensure efficiency and effective use of state and federal funds.

Please see the job announcement for additional information.

 

Public Input Opportunity: PECFA Usual & Customary Standardized Invoice

The Remediation and Redevelopment (RR) Program seeks your input on the Usual & Customary (U&C) Task Reference Guide #23 (RR-092) and on the Standardized Invoice #23 (RR-092a). Both documents can be viewed at the Wisconsin DNR’s web page for proposed program guidance.

Comments on these documents will be accepted through December 22, 2017.

Updates to Tasks 5, 7, 18, 26, 27 and 31 are included in the document and outlined in the public comment cover sheet.

The U&C Cost Schedule is a regular publication of the RR program and is updated twice a year. Updates generally consist of non-substantive language changes and clarification.

Comments on this document should be sent to Jenna Soyer at jenna.soyer@wisconsin.gov.

Annual Report Details Northern Wisconsin Cleanup

A vacant industrial lot in the heart of Ashland, just a few blocks from Lake Superior, is now poised for redevelopment with the help of two section 104(k) cleanup subgrants totaling $400,000 from Wisconsin’s revolving loan fund, known as Ready for Reuse.

The success of this northern Wisconsin cleanup site is highlighted in the recent year-end Report, a summary of the outcomes funded by a Section 128(a) Grant from the US EPA made to the Wisconsin DNR’s Brownfields program.

The former Roffers property was once the site of a railroad roundhouse in the late 1800s. At that time, the grounds were used for coal storage. Later, it became the site of the Ruth Manufacturing Company saw mill and lumber yard. In the 1950s, Roffers Construction operated on the site and did so until 2007. Additional buildings on the property also housed various businesses over the last century, including a flour mill, a grocery wholesaler warehouse, and the headquarters of a local general contractor.

These past uses brought widespread PAH contamination that was excavated and used to mitigate a subsidence issue at a closed city landfill through a cross-program effort at the Wisconsin DNR. This alternate disposal location gave the city an inexpensive option for bringing the landfill back into compliance while also providing a greener remedial alternative to the substantial transportation distance and cost of hauling the material to the nearest open landfill in this rural, remote area of the state.

Currently, the city is working with a promising development proposal for a mixed use, walkable residential and commercial space with integrated park and greenspace. By proposing a mix of single and multi-family dwellings with small footprints and affordable pricing adjacent to commercial incubator space, the development aims to appeal to new graduates of the local college.

Previous 128(a) reports, including mid-year and year-end summaries going back to 2012, can be found on the DNR’s RR Program web page.

 

 

Employment Opportunity with the RR Program

The Wisconsin DNR seeks to fill a position with the Remediation and Redevelopment (RR) Program stationed in the downtown Madison office.

The deadline to apply is December 10, 2017. 

Environmental Program Specialist – The successful candidate will provide professional programmatic, financial and administrative support throughout the state to all RR staff. Additionally, the person will provide direct administrative support to the Program Director and Management Team. This person will specifically help develop, administer, maintain and disseminate information related to RR programs, the program’s budget, work plans, performance metrics, open records, administrative rules and records. As the Program Specialist, this person will be responsible for tracking all program payables and receivables, procurement card transactions, purchase orders, and invoice vouchers.

Please see the job announcement for additional information.

Updates to RR Program’s Sites Map Application

Users of the RR Sites Map (RRSM) application will notice recent upgrades to the popular mobile and desktop mapping system, made available by the Remediation and Redevelopment Program. The application is used to display completed or ongoing contamination cleanup sites across the state, as well as those sites that have received financial or liability assistance.

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.

In an effort to enhance your experience with RRSM, we have recently made the following updates:

  • The addition of “2010–2016 aerial photos” to the layer list and base map; and
  • The addition of “county tax parcels” to the layer list.

County tax parcels recently became available following a multi-year project spearheaded by the Wisconsin Department of Administration.

Other improvements include the addition of a “plot coordinates” tool to the navigation tab, a “hide labels” button to the measure tool (under the draw and measure tab) and a “law enforcement contacts” button under the information tab.

Comments or suggestions about RRSM can be directed to DNRRRBRRTSFeedback@wisconsin.gov.

Brownfields Success: West Milwaukee

With the “snick” of a ceremonial scissor, the new Burnham Business Center officially opens for business in West Milwaukee. This former Auto Paradise site has a long history as a carriage and cartage company, going back to the early 1900s. Most recently, the site was used to disassemble cars, stripping them of all usable pieces before recycling the remaining parts.

Burnham Business Center

A portion of the new, 83,000 square foot Burnham Business Center along W. Burnham Street in West Milwaukee. The facility recently opened after guidance from the DNR’s Remediation and Redevelopment program.

The DNR’s Remediation and Redevelopment Program in the Southeast Region started guiding the cleanup investigation back in February of 2016. With an approved remediation plan in place, the SER team is now evaluating plans for long-term groundwater monitoring. The site is currently in the DNR’s VPLE program, a process by which an individual, business or unit of government, can voluntarily conduct an environmental investigation and cleanup of a property and then receive limits on their liability for historical contamination on that property.

The new 83,000 sq. ft. light industrial facility has eight tractor-trailer bays which facilitates the cross-transfer of a variety of products. As part of the site development, work crews also conducted a stream bank improvement project, where the banks of this unnamed stream were hardened and properly re-sloped.

 The ribbon-cutting ceremony to open the new facility was held October 24.