A brownfields cleanup project near Chilton is getting financial assistance in the form of a grant from the Department of Natural Resources.
The financial award comes from the DNR’s Wisconsin Assessment Monies (WAM) program, which provides contractor services worth up to $35,000 for eligible sites. The DNR awarded the grant to Calumet County for the former Stoeger’s Plating Service/T&M Plating Service, LLC site near Chilton.
“DNR is proud to partner with Calumet County as officials work to clean up this property,” said DNR Remediation and Redevelopment Program’s Brownfields, Outreach and Policy Section Chief Jodie Peotter. “Often, the time and expense of looking into potential environmental contamination is daunting for local governments. An award like this can be very helpful to communities that take on the task of redeveloping brownfields.”
The site, located at N3503 Highway 55 near Chilton, was a cheese factory before it was purchased by the Stoeger family in 1971. The Stoeger family ran an antique store until the late 1990s, when they transferred the nearly two-acre property to their sons. The sons operated a plating business at the site for much of the early 2000s. The property eventually became tax delinquent; Calumet County acquired the site through tax foreclosure proceedings in March of last year.
After the county acquired the property, the U.S. EPA completed the removal of 100 drums and other containers of hazardous materials that were left behind when the building was vacated. Potential environmental issues related to the plating business and other historical site uses require additional environmental investigation. The WAM grant for contractor services will help Calumet County investigate whether environmental contamination exists at the property.
Since 2009, the WAM program has now provided more than $2.5 million to 60 communities across the state, partnering to help clean up and redevelop old, often run-down or underused properties that distract from a community’s potential.
Administered by the DNR’s 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. EPA brownfields assessment grant.
Participation in the WAM program requires minimal effort by local governments. Because there is no local financial match, WAM is an attractive opportunity for communities to gain knowledge of environmental conditions. 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 for WAM assistance may be submitted at any time. The DNR uses WAM funding to assess brownfields throughout the state, concentrating on industrial sites and closed, or closing, manufacturing plants. WAM awards are also made for sites that may not have had a history of manufacturing but are in rural areas, racially diverse communities or economically disadvantaged areas.