US EPA

External Advisory Groups Help Guide, Shape DNR Policy

The Remediation and Redevelopment Program puts to good use the skills and knowledge of its customers by working together in a collaborative manner through a number of External Advisory Groups (EAG). In fact, it’s one of the core values of the agency. And with funding from the US EPA’s 128(a) grant, the Brownfields and Outreach Section assists these groups with messaging and keeping customers and the public informed.

Now in its 20th year of advising the agency is the Brownfields Study Group (BSG). The study group is one of the oldest EAGs, created in 1998 at the direction of the Governor and State Legislature to evaluate Wisconsin’s brownfields initiatives and recommend improvements, as well as propose additional incentives for brownfields redevelopment. The BSG continues to drive important brownfields policy changes in Wisconsin and among its successes can count the creation of the Site Assessment Grant Program, which awarded more than $18 million to more than 200 communities before it was transferred to a different agency. The group was also instrumental in developing the One Cleanup Program Agreement with Region 5 EPA, the most comprehensive agreement of its kind, which helps expedite cleanups of properties across the state.

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City of Manitowoc Receives EPA Brownfields Award

The cleanup and redevelopment of the former Mirro Aluminum factories in Manitowoc recently garnered the city an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) brownfields award during the recent National Brownfields Conference, held December 5-7 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Award recipients

Receiving the EPA award is Nicolas Sparacio from the city of Manitowoc. He is flanked by Michael Prager, RR Program Land Recycling Team Leader, Margaret Guerriero and Yolanda Bouchee-Cureton, both from the EPA.

The EPA recognized the city for its outstanding efforts to clean up and redevelop two former factories that the city was left with when the Mirro Aluminum Co. closed its manufacturing plants in Manitowoc in 2003. Through persistence and hard work, the city has been successful in transforming the former Mirro Plant No. 3 into loft apartments targeted towards the veteran community and artists. In addition, the city achieved a huge milestone by completing the demolition of the massive Mirro Plant No. 9 and preparing the land for development.

The Wisconsin DNR’s RR Program assisted with Manitowoc’s Mirro cleanups by providing both financial and technical assistance. A summary of the Mirro apartments project can be found in the Program’s 128a Mid-Year Report for 2015-2016.

To learn how RR staff can help with your community’s revitalization efforts, contact your regional Land Recycling team member and request a “Green Team” meeting.

“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.

 

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.

 

 

EPA Grant Available for Environmental Workforce Development, Job Training; Webinar-based Application Assistance Available

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is now accepting Request for Proposals (RFPs) for FY18 grants related to environmental workforce development and job training. These grants are provided to eligible entities, including nonprofit organizations, to develop environmental programs that recruit, train and place unemployed and under-employed residents of communities affected by brownfields and other environmental contamination with the skills needed to secure full-time, sustainable employment in the environmental field and in assessment and cleanup work taking place in their communities.

The grants, called Environmental Workforce Development and Job Training (EWDJT) grants, may be funded up to $200,000 over a three-year period.

To assist applicants with their proposals, EPA will hold an informational webinar for prospective grant applicants. The webinar will be held on November 7, 2017 at 1:30 p.m. EST. It will be recorded and posted to EPA’s brownfields website.

The deadline to submit an RFP is December 15, 2017. All proposals must be submitted through the grants.gov website.

DNR Brownfields Report of Annual Accomplishments Now Available

The Remediation and Redevelopment Program’s annual report to the US EPA of brownfields accomplishments, which details a year-long effort of outputs and outcomes funded by a federal grant, is now available online. The Section 128(a) Grant Final Accomplishments Report, for the reporting period of September 1, 2016 to August 31, 2017, highlights work completed in the previous funding year.

The “128(a) Final Report” includes a summary of the various metrics tracked during the year (Green Team meetings, outreach activities, etc.), highlights a number of successful cleanups and redevelopments from across the state, and features a number of important program improvements undertaken during the year.

Previous 128(a) reports can be found on the Brownfields Program web page.

 

Requests for DNR “Acknowledgment Letter” Due November 2

If you plan to submit an application for an FY2018 EPA brownfield grant, you only have a couple weeks left to request your letter of acknowledgment from the Remediation and Redevelopment Program for your federal grant application.

The EPA requires grant applicants other than tribal environmental authorities to obtain a letter from the DNR acknowledging that the state is aware the applicant is applying for a federal grant to conduct brownfield assessment, revolving loan fund or cleanup activities.

While the federal deadline to submit an application for Brownfields Assessment, Revolving Loan Fund, or Cleanup grants isn’t until November 16, 2017, the DNR requests at least two weeks’ notice – November 2 – to develop and deliver your letter in a timely manner. These federal grants are available for the assessment and cleanup of brownfield properties.

You can request your state letter of acknowledgment from the DNR by contacting Elisabeth Kuisis (608-267-0543).

To find out how to get a DNR letter of acknowledgment and other useful information, visit the DNR Federal brownfield grants web page. For more information about the federal grants, see the September 20 article in the RR Report.

FY 2018 EPA Brownfields Grant Application Guidelines Released

The FY 2018 application guidelines for EPA’s Brownfields Assessment, Revolving Loan Fund and Cleanup grants have been released by the Office of Land and Emergency Management. Proposals are due to EPA by November 16, 2017 at 11:59 p.m. Eastern time.

These federal grants are available for the assessment and cleanup of brownfield properties.

For assistance with applying for a FY 2018 Brownfields Grant, contact your regional EPA representative or the Region 5 Technical Assistance to Brownfield (TAB) provider, KSU. TAB can provide free review of your draft EPA Assessment and Cleanup proposals. Please give TAB a one-week heads-up that you will be sending a draft to review. It generally takes TAB a few days to get the proposals back to you. Please contact Blase Leven (785-532-0780) to reserve your spot.

To find out how to get a DNR letter of support and other useful information, visit the DNR Federal brownfield grants web page.

Innovative Brownfield Redevelopments Sought for Phoenix Award at National Brownfields Conference

The application process for the Phoenix Awards during the 2017 National Brownfields Conference is now open. The award highlights outstanding brownfield redevelopment and revitalization, with top projects offering a fresh take on cleanups, innovation, and community impact.

The deadline to submit an application for this year’s Phoenix Awards is October 4, 2017. Awards will be presented during this year’s National Brownfields Conference, held Dec. 5-7 in Pittsburgh, PA.

2017 National Brownfields Training Conference – Registration Open

Registration is open for the 2017 National Brownfields Training Conference. This year’s event is being held in Pittsburgh, PA and will run from Dec. 5-7, 2017.

This is the premier brownfields and land revitalization event of the year; attendees will enjoy opportunities to participate in training events, observe success stories first hand during mobile workshops, listen to experts regarding best practices for meeting brownfields challenges, and network with thousands of other stakeholders.

Registration and accommodations are now open for the event.

Visit the official Brownfields Conference Website for additional information at www.brownfields2017.org.