DNR Awards Brownfield Grant To City Of Cuba City

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) today announced the DNR awarded brownfield assessment services to the city of Cuba City to assist with the investigation of potential environmental contamination at the site of a former dry cleaner.

The award is from the DNR’s Wisconsin Assessment Monies program, which provides contractor services for the environmental assessment of eligible brownfield sites.
A brownfield is a property where expansion, redevelopment or reuse is complicated by real or potential contamination. Brownfields vary in size, location, age and past use; they can be anything from a 500-acre former automobile assembly plant to a small, abandoned gas station.

The award will support the assessment of environmental conditions at 204 South Main St., where suspected environmental contamination is related to a former dry cleaning business. The property has been vacant for more than a decade. Suspected contamination has made the property difficult to sell.

A deteriorated building sits on the property and has become a blight in the middle of the downtown businesses district. Cuba City’s plans for the site include purchasing the property, razing the building and revitalizing the property. Razing of the building will erase the eyesore and address safety concerns of having an abandoned building so close to a busy thoroughfare. Cleanup of the site will give a valuable property back to the city to be redeveloped in the future. In addition, the site will no longer detract from Cuba City’s “Parade of Presidents” Main Street display—an important tourism and economic anchor for the city.

“Over the last few decades, Cuba City has dedicated a tremendous amount of time and effort to plan and grow a vibrant and sustainable community,” said Jodie Thistle, DNR Brownfields, Outreach and Policy Section Chief, Remediation and Redevelopment Program. “Cleaning up and re-purposing the former dry cleaner is an excellent next step toward Cuba City’s goals. The DNR applauds the city’s efforts and looks forward to a continued partnership.”

Since 2009, the DNR’s WAM program has provided over $3.3 million in services and grant funds to over 70 communities across Wisconsin, partnering to help clean up and redevelop often run-down or underused properties that detract from a community’s potential. Because there is no local financial match required, the WAM program grants present an attractive opportunity for communities to learn about environmental conditions. Applications for assistance may be submitted to the DNR at any time.

Interested in learning how cleaning up brownfields can help your community? The DNR’s series of on-demand Brownfields Fundamentals webinars cover planning, cleanup, liability, and other topics as part of a well-rounded crash course in Wisconsin brownfield redevelopment.

The DNR has a wide range of financial and liability tools available to help local governments, businesses, lenders, and others clean up and redevelop brownfields in Wisconsin, including Ready for Reuse financial awards, which may be used for environmental cleanup. DNR staff around the state are available to meet with community leaders, bankers, developers and private individuals to discuss brownfield projects through Green Team meetings.

More information about the DNR’s brownfield cleanup programs and services is available on the DNR’s brownfields webpage.

DNR To Hold RR External Advisory Group Subgroup Meetings

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) will host Remediation and Redevelopment External Advisory Group (RR EAG) subgroup meetings on Tuesday, Dec. 5, 2023.

The RR EAG was formed to address a broad range of issues, encompassing both technical and policy topics related to encouraging the investigation, cleanup and redevelopment of contaminated sites in Wisconsin.

The RR EAG identifies issues and topics of interest that may be addressed by ad hoc subgroups. Subgroup members are expected to research and develop recommendations on the selected topics for presentation to the full group. RR EAG subgroup meetings are open to the public.

Milwaukee Water Commons
Adams Garden Park
1836 W. Fond Du Lac Ave.
Milwaukee, WI 53205

Check in with the security desk before going to conference room.

In-person attendees should RSVP to Jody.Irland@wisconsin.gov by noon on Monday, Dec. 4, 2023.

A short building tour will be offered at 3:30 p.m., which will highlight the on-site community art and history. Please indicate in your RSVP if you plan on attending the tour.


Visit the DNR’s RR EAG webpage for meeting agendas, materials and additional information. Subscribe for updates on future RR EAG meetings.

Now Available: Guidance: DNR’s Superior Lien Authority and What It Means for Property Owners (RR-507), Guidance: Environmental Liability Exemptions for Lenders and Representatives (RR-508) and Guidance: Post-Closure Modifications (RR-982)

Following a public comment period, the following publications are now posted and available online:

Guidance: DNR’s Superior Lien Authority and What It Means for Property Owners (RR-507)
This guidance is intended for property owners and mortgagees. It defines and explains a superior lien, which is a type of environmental lien that the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) places on properties when the DNR cleans up contamination on a property and is not reimbursed. A superior lien allows the DNR to recover the public funds spent on the cleanup.

Guidance: Environmental Liability Exemptions for Lenders and Representatives (RR-508)
The purpose of this guidance is to provide information to lenders and representatives about environmental liability exemptions available for sites with hazardous substance discharges to the environment.

Guidance: Post-Closure Modifications (RR-982)
The purpose of this guidance is to aid in the preparation and review of post-closure modification (PCM) submittals to the DNR. Information about the types of PCMs, the process, fees and types of responses available from the DNR is provided. This guidance is for use by property owners, responsible parties, environmental consultants and DNR staff. It is based on authority provided under Wisconsin Statutes (Wis. Stat.) § 292.12(6) and Wisconsin Administrative Code (Wis. Admin. Code) ch. NR 727.

Additional documents and guidance from the Remediation and Redevelopment (RR) Program may be found using the search tools available on the RR Document Search and Resource Portal.

Questions regarding RR-507 and RR-508 may be submitted to Molly Schmidt at MollyE.Schmidt@wisconsin.gov. Questions regarding RR-982 may be submitted to Jodie Thistle at Jodie.Thistle@wisconsin.gov.

Updates To The RR Presentations & Training Library

Brownfields Fundamentals logo which is a photo of an old white building with broken windows transitioning into a sketch drawing of a new apartment complex. The words brownfields fundmentals are at the bottom of the image.The Remediation and Redevelopment (RR) Program provides up-to-date and quality presentations and trainings on a variety of technical and educational topics for environmental professionals, local governments, community organizations, members of the public and others.

The RR Program Presentations & Training Library webpage has added a dedicated section for the Brownfields Fundamentals series. The articles, webinars and panel discussions are designed to provide valuable brownfields cleanup and redevelopment information and resources to local governments and their communities.

RR Program Trainings

  • Brownfields Fundamentals
  • Issues & Trends – Quarterly Zoom webinars providing information on a variety of topics such as DNR and RR Program updates, Wisconsin Administrative rulemaking information, environmental contamination and cleanup and more.
  • Consultants’ Days – Coming to a region near you in 2024! A day-long conference designed for environmental professionals focused on providing presentations, demonstrations, and discussions on environmental cleanup laws, best practices, compliance and guidance. The accordion contains presentations from past conferences.
  • Local Government Days — A day-long conference for local government officials on brownfields redevelopment. This accordion contains presentations from past conferences.

A list of upcoming presentations and trainings is available on the RR Program Presentations & Trainings webpage. If there is a topic you would like addressed in a future webinar, please email Jody.Irland@wisconsin.gov.

DNR Requests Proposals For Two Brownfield Projects

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has posted requests for proposals (RFPs) on two brownfield planning projects. The projects are funded by a FY23 Small Technical Assistance Grant (TAG) from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

Cuba City Brownfield Site Reuse Concept Planning
The DNR is seeking proposals from qualified firms interested in providing consulting services to assist with the community engagement and visioning process for a large, soon-to-be vacant senior care and rehabilitation facility located in Cuba City, Wisconsin. The senior care facility is a 9-acre site with asbestos-containing materials and other potential environmental conditions.

Port Edwards Brownfield Site Reuse Concept Planning
The DNR is seeking proposals from qualified firms interested in providing consulting services to assist with brownfield redevelopment planning at a former paper mill in the village of Port Edwards, Wisconsin. This planning project is focused on an approximately 46-acre portion of the 180-acre former paper mill.

Proposals are due Nov. 20, 2023. The RFPs are available on the RR Program Public Notices webpage.

DNR Launches New Vapor Intrusion Webpage For Local Governments

Contact: Christine Sieger, DNR Remediation and Redevelopment
Program Director
Christine.Sieger@wisconsin.gov or 608-422-1148

DNR Launches New Vapor Intrusion Webpage For Local Governments

MADISON, Wis. – The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) today announced a new webpage to help local governments address vapor intrusion in their communities.

The new Vapor Intrusion for Local Governments webpage from the Remediation and Redevelopment (RR) Program provides tools and resources for local governments to address vapor intrusion in their communities, including information on locating contaminated sites, considerations for development or redevelopment, vapor intrusion prevention and planning resources as well as health information.

“The risk from vapor intrusion is new territory for many municipalities and local health departments,” said Jennifer Borski, Remediation and Redevelopment Program Vapor Intrusion Team Leader. “This webpage is designed specifically for the unique needs of local municipalities as they incorporate consideration of this health risk into their daily work on items such as permitting, redevelopment, road work and planning. Our hope is this webpage will serve to provide readily accessible support and guidance for municipalities and encourage partnership with the DNR’s Remediation and Redevelopment Program in our shared efforts to protect the residents of Wisconsin.”

In addition to the webpage dedicated to local governments, a new landing page has been added to organize vapor intrusion resources into three main categories and provide a streamlined path to the vapor intrusion information each group needs: local governments, environmental professionals and property owners, occupants and the public.

Vapor intrusion is a phenomenon through which vapors from volatile organic compounds (VOCs) from chemicals used in commercial activities, such as dry-cleaning chemicals, chemical degreasers and petroleum products like gasoline, enter a building, typically through cracks or gaps in the foundation. These VOC vapors are often colorless and odorless and bring chemicals into the indoor air, which can cause unsafe indoor air quality conditions and result in adverse health effects to building occupants.

The Remediation and Redevelopment Program welcomes feedback on the vapor intrusion webpage improvements. Ideas and suggestions can be sent to DNRRRwebrequests@wisconsin.gov.
More information about the DNR’s brownfields cleanup programs and services is available on the DNR’s brownfields webpage.

Matt Thompson Named RR Program West Central Region Team Supervisor

Matt Thompson and partner taking a selfie outside on a grassy area.

Matt Thompson and family.

Matt Thompson will take on a management role with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR)’s Remediation and Redevelopment (RR) Program.

Thompson recently accepted a new position as the Team Supervisor in the West Central Region (WCR) stationed in the Eau Claire office.

Thompson joined the RR Program in 2015 as a limited-term employee and is currently the WCR hydrogeologist program coordinator. Prior to the DNR, Thompson worked in the non-metallic mining industry.

He replaces Dave Rozeboom, who took a new position as the WCR Field Integration Leader earlier this year. Thompson will begin his new role Oct. 23, 2023.

DNR Seeks Geographic Information System (GIS) Analyst/Specialist

The Department of Natural Resources is recruiting a Geographic Information System (GIS) Analyst/Specialist that will be dedicated to supporting the needs of the Remediation and Redevelopment (RR) Program.

This position will be located in the DNR’s Madison, Wisconsin office. The deadline to apply is Oct. 11, 2023.

This position supports the planning, implementing, upgrading, and development of the RR Program’s Geographic Information Systems (GIS) mapping applications and geospatial data needs. The primary responsibilities of this position include managing and maintaining the RR Program’s web-based mapping applications (including the RR Sites Map) and all requisite map/feature services; performing advanced technical data and database design; analyzing data requirements; performing spatial data analyses; and assisting with necessary quality assurance and quality control processes to support the RR Program’s IT operations and business needs. The position may be filled at either the IS Systems Development Services Senior/Analyst or Specialist levels.

Additional details, including necessary qualifications, are available online at the Wisc.jobs website (Job ID number 11995).

RR Program Seeks Hydrogeologist Program Coordinator

The Remediation and Redevelopment (RR) Program is recruiting a hydrogeologist program coordinator.

This position will work out of the DNR’s Fitchburg Service Center. There is an opportunity to telework up to 60% of the time dependent on work needs and supervisor approval. The deadline to apply is Oct. 4, 2023.

This position serves as regional program coordinator in the DNR south central region. This position will work with the region program manager to lead regional staff in implementing RR Program policies and procedures; planning and conducting training; planning and implementing special projects to improve efficiency or work quality in the Region, serving as mentor and technical advisor to project managers; coordinating and providing technical oversight for staff on stalled case and enforcement strategies and actions; hiring, training and overseeing projects of limited term employee positions; and coordinating and serving on the peer/closure review committee in the region.

In addition, the position also serves as a project manager within the RR Program, providing oversight and direction for the larger, more complex cases requiring secondary response actions and other highly sensitive and/or complicated environmental investigations. Many of these cases involve complex hydrogeological issues requiring a high level of interpretation, creativity and independent judgment, and which have major impacts on DNR actions and future decisions.

Additional information and a full position description, including necessary qualifications, is available online at the Wisc.jobs website (Job ID number 11894).

KSU TAB Offers “Preparing For Brownfields Grants With Clean Energy Reuse In Mind” Workshop Series

Kansas State University’s Technical Assistance to Brownfields program (KSU TAB) is offering a four-part workshop series starting Oct. 3, 2023: “Preparing for Brownfields Grants with Clean Energy Reuse in Mind.”

What Can You Expect?

  • Each virtual workshop will be interactive and engaging and is designed to build on each of the previous workshops; it is strongly encouraged participants attend all sessions.
  • Gain strategies for incorporating clean energy reuse into EPA brownfields grants due Nov. 13, 2023.
  • Learn about funding and financing options for clean energy projects.

This miniseries will start with general education and tips for grant preparation and then progress into more tailored feedback on specific plans and applications. The first three workshops will focus on preparing for the EPA brownfields grants and how to include clean energy as a reuse for some sites. The final workshop will be after the Nov. 13, 2023 EPA brownfields grant deadline and focus on broader funding and financing strategies for brightfields projects.

Who Is This For?
This cohort is specifically tailored to local governments and others interested in pursuing EPA brownfields grants and other state and federal funding for clean energy reuse. While it’s beneficial to have one or more sites in mind for assessment, cleanup and/or reuse, it’s not a requirement for participation. Participants must be from public or non-profit entities and located within EPA Regions 5, 6, 7 or 8 (Map of EPA Region) and Tribal communities.


  • What: Preparing for Brownfields Grants with Clean Energy Reuse in Mind, a series of four workshops
  • When: Starting Oct. 3, 2023 and ending December 2023
  • Where: All workshops will be hosted virtually via Zoom
  • Cost: None
  • Register: More details and registration links are available on the KSU TAB brightfields projects webpage.