Author: elisabethkuisis

Free Professional Brownfields Assistance for Local Governments

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency funds professional service providers around the country to help local governments and tribes affected by environmental issues at brownfield properties. These professionals are part of the Technical Assistance for Brownfields (TAB) program and serve as no-cost independent advisors and resource providers for community revitalization efforts.

Wisconsin is fortunate to have two very experienced and talented TAB service providers available to our communities. Margaret Renas, from the Chicago-based nonprofit Delta Institute, is a professional engineer with a great deal of environmental consulting and community redevelopment experience. Maggie Egbarts, from Kansas State University, is the TAB Coordinator for EPA Regions 5 and 7, and has many years of experience in environmental assessment, cleanup, regulatory compliance and revitalization activities.

Examples of some of the free TAB services that can be provided to your community, upon your request and the availability of service providers, include:

  • Assistance with inventory and prioritization of sites for redevelopment.
  • Guidance in finding and contracting with environmental firms.
  • Identification of potential funding sources and assisting with introductions to federal agencies
  • Strategic planning and redevelopment visioning workshops.
  • Economic feasibility and sustainability analysis.
  • Technical presentations, workshops and seminars on brownfields-related topics.
  • Independent review and summarization of technical documents.
  • Pre-review of draft grant applications for EPA brownfield funding.
  • Community outreach liaison service between you, state or federal agencies, or other entities.

For more information, and to learn how TAB professionals can help your community, contact:

Maggie Egbarts
maggiejessie@ksu.edu
(785) 532 0762

Margaret Renas
mrenas@delta-institute.org
(312) 651-4335

EPA to Host Listening Sessions on Superfund Task Force Recommendations Beginning May 21, 2018

The EPA’s Office of Site Remediation Enforcement announced the schedule for the series of eight listening sessions related to recommendations contained in the July 2017 Superfund Task Force Report. These listening sessions will provide a forum for EPA personnel to obtain stakeholder input on specific recommendations, increase public participation and transparency, and strengthen communication with stakeholders.

The eight listening sessions begin May 21, 2018 and end June 18, 2018. Information on each of the listening sessions and registration links are available on the EPA’s website at https://www.epa.gov/enforcement/listening-sessions-superfund-task-force-recommendations. The first session addresses Recommendation 16.2 and focuses on expediting negotiations with potentially responsible parties under Superfund cleanup agreements. Registration for the first listening session is open now.

The registration form provides a participant with the option to make live verbal remarks or to listen online. All session participants must register. Registration for verbal remarks also means the opportunity to listen to the entire session. The registration slots for verbal remarks are limited due to the two-hour time frame for the session. Additionally, the agency would like listening session participants to focus their remarks, both verbal and written submissions, on the questions and topics identified on each session’s registration form. Written remarks can be sent to OSRE via the listen session email address: osre-sftf-listeningsession@epa.gov.

Wausau Riverfront Redevelopment: Grant Funding Assists in Completion of Riverfront Corridor

In late 2013, the city of Wausau received $151,171 in Ready for Reuse grant funding through Wisconsin DNR’s 104(k) revolving loan fund grant for a cleanup at 1010 North 1st Street. The property, one in a string of parcels, was identified along the Wisconsin River as part of a comprehensive riverfront redevelopment strategy. Since then, extensive work along the river corridor has occurred with the goal of bringing business and public access to what was once underused riverfront property.

The site’s history includes lumber production, manufacturing, scrap iron, and automobile parking and storage. The 3.9-acre property is one of six contiguous former industrial riverfront properties totaling 16 acres adjacent to the Wisconsin River that are planned for commercial, residential and/or recreational mixed use redevelopment known as the Riverfront Redevelopment Area.

Cleanup included the removal off-site disposal of PCE-impacted soil. A groundwater monitoring well network was established in the area of PCE release. Groundwater monitoring was performed to demonstrate a stable or receding groundwater plume. The entire site was capped to minimize the potential for direct contact with widespread sporadic PAH and metals impacts to soil.
The Wausau Riverlife Villages project phase 1, which includes $27 million worth of multifamily and mixed use commercial buildings, recently completed all foundation work and is currently on schedule for completion in 2019. Wausau on the Water (WOW) – a $3.5 million family entertainment center with a bar, grill, arcade and laser tag facility – recently celebrated its first anniversary in operation.

The city of Wausau completed phase 1 of the public improvements to the 16 acre Riverlife area which included a river wharf, extensive river’s edge trail connections and plazas/overlooks across the site last year – all of which provided new public access and recreation opportunities. The city is currently bidding phase 2 of those amenities to be completed by fall 2018, which is scheduled to include a concession/market building, rope courses and climbing walls, fitness equipment and other recreational amenities in the new Riverlife Park.

Wausau after

After: Wausau riverfront public access and pedestrian bridge

Wausau before

Before: vacant, overgrown riverfront with no public access

Public Input Opportunity – Case Closure Reconsideration Process

The RR Program seeks your input on a revised, draft publication entitled “Wis. Admin. Code ch. NR 726 Case Closure Reconsideration Process (RR-102)”.

The purpose of this document is to provide responsible parties (RPs) with guidance on the opportunities available to engage the department to receive feedback on the adequacy of the Wis. Admin. Code chs. NR 700-754 response actions undertaken and submitted by the RP to document case closure. This guidance presents the process and feedback opportunities available if case closure is not recommended by the department. This general process is referred to as the case closure reconsideration process.

The document can be reviewed at http://dnr.wi.gov/news/input/guidance.html and comments can be submitted through June 5, 2018 to the Brownfields and Outreach Section Chief, Christine Haag at Christine.Haag@wisconsin.gov.

Reminder: Please Use New PECFA Mailing Address

On June 30, 2018, the Remediation and Redevelopment (RR) Program will stop using P.O. Box 8044 for all submittals related to the Petroleum Environmental Cleanup Fund Award (PECFA) program. At that time, all RR Program mail will consolidate all incoming mail into the current program-wide mailbox below:

Wisconsin DNR – RR/5
P.O. Box 7921
Madison, WI 53707-7921

Please begin using the above mailing address for all PECFA claim submittals. Reminders will be sent throughout the fiscal year. The new address is stated on all PECFA forms.

Public Input Opportunity: Variances to the Usual and Customary Standardized Invoice for PECFA Projects

The Remediation and Redevelopment (RR) Program seeks your input on guidance regarding variances to the Usual & Customary (U&C) Standardized Invoice for Petroleum Environmental Cleanup Fund Award (PECFA) Program projects.

The guidance addresses a limited number of PECFA-eligible activities, based on their common occurrence, in order to ensure consistency in approving cost reimbursement where no standard rate exists.

Comments are due by May 23, 2018, and may be directed to Jenna.Soyer@wisconsin.gov.

Snapshot: April PECFA Financials

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

 

Below are the updated PECFA claim numbers for April 2018.

  Number Value
Claims Received 110 $585,706
Claims Paid 82 $453,113
Claims in audit line (as of April 30) 47 $167,922
Total Paid FY18   $4,976,209

DNR, Wisconsin Communities Receive $2.9M in EPA Brownfields Awards for FY2018

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources’ Remediation and Redevelopment Program – along with its seven regional planning commission partners – is the recipient of a $600,000 US EPA Brownfields Grant.

The Wisconsin Brownfields Coalition will use this money to continue the Wisconsin Assessment Monies (WAM) program which provides funding to aid local governments and other eligible applicants in assessing and investigating environmental contamination at brownfields sites throughout the state. The coalition will target closed and closing manufacturing facilities to assess potential environmental contamination that could complicate reuse of the properties.

In addition to the Wisconsin DNR’s award, several other Wisconsin communities and entities were awarded US EPA Brownfields Grants:

  • Stevens Point – $300,000
  • Redevelopment Authority of the City of Milwaukee – $900,000
  • Racine – $300,000
  • Manitowoc – $300,000
  • Manitowoc Community Development Authority – $200,000
  • Bay-Lake Regional Planning Commission – $300,000

“Clearly there is no shortage of creativity, innovation and ingenuity when it comes to brownfields redevelopment projects in the great State of Wisconsin,” said EPA Region 5 Administrator and former Wisconsin DNR Secretary Cathy Stepp. “EPA looks forward to expanding our work with our partners to redevelop brownfields so they can once again be thriving parts of their communities – spurring local economies with jobs and new businesses as well as generating tax revenues and spending.”

A full version of the US EPA press release can be found here.

TAB Program to Host May 9 Webinar on BUILD Act

The BUILD Act (Brownfields Utilization, Investment and Local Development) was signed into law in March 2018 and is the first major legislative change to Brownfields since passage of the original statute in 2002. Specific changes include: increased eligibility for funding, additional liability protections, and changes to grant programs, just to name a few.

Join Kansas State University Technical Assistance to Brownfields Program for a free, National TAB webinar, on Wednesday, May 9 at 1:00 pm (Central), to hear about how the BUILD Act will improve the national brownfields program and support community brownfields revitalization. The webinar will feature officials from U.S. EPA, a local community, national brownfield experts, and the coordinator of the National Brownfields Coalition. Click here to register and visit the event web page to get more information about this May 9 BUILD Act webinar.