The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is now accepting applications for the Wisconsin Assessment Monies (WAM) program. The WAM program provides services and funding to investigate brownfields sites where potential or known contamination is acting as an impediment to redevelopment. Since 2010, the U.S. EPA has awarded the DNR and its partners $5.3 million in brownfield assessment grant funding. The DNR uses the funding to aid local governments and others in investigating brownfield properties throughout the state.
Eligible assessment activities through WAM include:
- Phase I Environmental Site Assessments (All Appropriate Inquiries/AAI)
- Phase II Environmental Site Assessments
- NR 716 Site Investigations
- Remedial action planning
Two types of awards are available through WAM:
WAM Community Managed Awards: Subgrants of up to $75,000 each are available to communities to assess a brownfield property. The award recipient selects a qualified environmental professional and manages all aspects of the project.
WAM Contractor Services Awards: Award recipients receive assessment services performed by the DNR’s environmental contractors. The DNR manages the project and oversees the contractors.
Eligible applicants include local governments and tribal entities. Private entities may also apply for contractor services awards.
Eligible properties must meet the federal definition of a brownfield, “A brownfield is a real property, the expansion, redevelopment, or reuse of which may be complicated by the presence or potential presence of a hazardous substance, pollutant, or contaminant.”
Applications are accepted on a rolling basis until funds are expended. For more information about the application, process, materials needed, and model documents visit the RR Program’s WAM webpage or email Gena Larson at Gena.Larson@wisconsin.gov.
The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR)’s Remediation and Redevelopment (RR) Program’s year-end report, Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) Section 128(a) Grant Final Report (RR-0142), is now available on the About the RR Program webpage.
The report highlights work undertaken within the latest funding year under the CERCLA Sec. 128(a) grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
The RR Program utilizes its CERCLA Sec. 128(a) grant to enhance its state response program and fulfill public record requirements. In addition, the grant is used to support state programs and designated federal programs under the jurisdiction of the RR Program, by supporting outreach, site discovery and redevelopment tools such as:
- Hands-on assistance, like Green Team meetings, which empower local governments to tackle brownfields redevelopment
- The Voluntary Party Liability Exemption (VPLE) program
- General liability assistance
- Conferences and training
- Policy development to address emerging issues
- Continuing obligation audits
- Online site information including BRRTS on the Web (BOTW) and RR Sites Map
- Public/private partnerships for continuous program improvement
Reporting period highlights include activities related to Vapor Intrusion Prevention & Partnership (VIPPI) Toolkit, local government outreach with Brownfields Fundamentals, and continued protection through continuing obligations audits at closed sites.
Additional CERCLA Sec. 128(a) reports can be found on the Remediation and Redevelopment Program’s webpage.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is now accepting applications for FY23 Brownfields Multipurpose, Assessment, Revolving Loan Fund (RLF) & Cleanup (MARC) Grants. The deadline for applications is Nov. 22, 2022.
If your community or organization intends to apply for an FY23 MARC Grant, the EPA requires grant applicants – except tribal entities – to obtain a state acknowledgement letter from the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR). The letter acknowledges that the state is aware of the community or organization’s application for a federal grant and intent to conduct brownfield assessment or cleanup activities.
New EPA Requirement for Cleanup Grants. A new EPA requirement for cleanup grant applicants affects the state acknowledgment letter for cleanup grants. Cleanup grant applicants must demonstrate that a proposed property was sufficiently characterized and is ready for the cleanup to begin (or will be ready to begin by June 15, 2023). For any requested state acknowledgement letters for cleanup grants, the DNR may describe:
- The general status of a property in the state’s contaminated site cleanup process
- The enrollment eligibility of the property in the voluntary party liability exemption program
- The specific site characterization and remediation status of the property, as listed in BRRTS, as well as the status of submittals and any requested DNR technical reviews
Request a DNR Acknowledgement Letter by Nov. 4, 2022. Send written requests for state acknowledgement letters to Molly Schmidt at MollyE.Schmidt@Wisconsin.gov no later than Nov. 4, 2022, to allow adequate time to draft and receive the letter prior to the EPA’s application deadline of Nov. 22, 2022.
- For all grants, include the following information:
- Type of grant being applied for: multipurpose, assessment, cleanup or revolving loan fund
- The name, title and mailing address of the person to whom the letter should be addressed (i.e., the representative of the entity applying for the grant)
- A general description of the community concerns about the property related to brownfields, socioeconomic challenges and redevelopment needs
- For assessment grants, include the following information:
- The property address, a brief history of ownership, a brief history of site-specific land use and why the property is suspected of being contaminated; include DNR Bureau for Remediation and Redevelopment Tracking System (BRRTS) identification number(s), if applicable
- For cleanup grants, include the following information:
- The property address, a brief history of ownership, a brief history of site-specific land uses and why the property is known to be contaminated; include BRRTS identification number(s), if applicable
- A statement of whether the applicant and/or landowner intends to enroll the property in the voluntary party liability exemption program
- The approximate timeframe to complete site investigation, begin cleanup at the property, submit reports required under Wis. Admin. Code chs. NR 700-799 and estimated time for DNR staff review
- For petroleum contamination cleanup or assessment grants, include the following information:
- The current property owner, occupant and the immediate past-owner of the property
- The date and method by which the current owner acquired the property (e.g., purchase, tax foreclosure)
- Whether the applicant, the current owner, or immediate past-owner dispensed or disposed of petroleum on the property
- Whether the applicant, the current owner, or immediate past-owner took reasonable steps to contain any known contamination
- Whether there are any state or federal environmental judgments or orders, or third-party suits or claims against the current or immediate past-owner, and if the current or immediate past-owner has the financial means to comply
- Reasons why any of the above information may not be available
Grants awarded by the EPA provide resources that can be used for various brownfield activities, with an opportunity to transform contaminated sites into community assets that attract jobs and achieve broader economic development outcomes.
EPA Grant Information. For grant guidelines and application resources, visit the EPA’s FY23 Brownfields Multipurpose, Assessment, RLF and Cleanup Grant Resource webpage.
DNR staff recently completed a project which added geographic information for No Action Required (NAR) activities on RR Sites Map.
NAR activities are sites where after notification of a hazardous substance discharge the DNR determined that the responsible party did not need to undertake an investigation or cleanup in response to that discharge because there was no or insignificant contamination.
This information is accessible as a new layer on RR Sites Map and the DNR GIS Open Data Portal. This layer provides users with direct access to over 11,000 additional activity locations on RR Sites Map.
Users can access map layers by selecting Navigate on the top menu bar. Select “Show Map Layers” and expand the “Additional Site Information” menu to check the “No Action Required (NAR) Activity” layer. This will populate the map with small yellow boxes with an activity number beginning with “09.” The prefix “09” is used for NAR activities in BRRTS on the Web (BOTW).
Action by local communities is often the key to cleaning up and redeveloping brownfield sites. The DNR has new resources available for communities interested in revitalizing brownfields, but aren’t sure where to start or need financial resources to make it happen.
Brownfields Fundamentals On-Demand Webinars
Interested in learning how cleaning up brownfields can help your community? The DNR’s series of on-demand Brownfields Fundamentals webinars cover brownfields planning, cleanup, liability, and other topics as part of a well-rounded crash course in Wisconsin brownfields redevelopment. Topics include:
Brownfields Fundamentals on-demand webinars are available on the RR Program’s Presentations and Trainings webpage.
Brownfields Fundamentals Panel Discussions Sept. 15, 2022
9:30 – 11 a.m. Brownfields Assistance: Boosting Redevelopment with Fresh Funds A panel of experts from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation, and the Kansas State University Technical Assistance for Brownfields program will join the DNR to discuss brownfields financial assistance available to Wisconsin local governments, with an emphasis on federal infrastructure funding.
1:30 – 3 p.m. Local Governments and Brownfields: Best Practices and Lessons Experienced staff from four Wisconsin communities – Calumet County and the cities of Prairie du Chien, Manitowoc, and Appleton – will share best practices and lessons learned while navigating brownfield redevelopment projects.
Register on the RR Program’s Presentations and Trainings webpage.
The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is now seeking input on the Five-Year Review of the Lauer 1 Landfill/Boundary Road (BRL) Superfund Site and the potential formation of a Community Advisory Group for the BRL Superfund site.
The public notice and a fact sheet with further details can be found at the Remediation and Redevelopment Program’s Public Notices & Guidance webpage under the “Public Notices” tab. Comments may be submitted through Aug. 31, 2022 to BJ LeRoy at BJ.LeRoy@wisconsin.gov.
Are you looking for ideas to address the brownfields in your community, or information on how to fund brownfield redevelopment projects? Join the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) for two panel discussions on Sept. 15, 2022, as part of our Brownfields Fundamentals series.
The panel discussions will include experts from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation, and the Kansas State University Technical Assistance for Brownfields to discuss brownfields financial assistance available to Wisconsin local governments, with an emphasis on federal infrastructure funding.
Save the date! Sept. 15, 2022
- 9:30 – 11 a.m. Brownfields Assistance: Boosting Redevelopment with Fresh Funds
A panel of experts from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation, and the Kansas State University Technical Assistance for Brownfields program will join the DNR to discuss brownfields financial assistance available to Wisconsin local governments, with an emphasis on federal infrastructure funding.
- 1:30 – 3 p.m. Local Governments and Brownfields: Best Practices and Lessons Learned
Experienced staff from four Wisconsin communities will share best practices and lessons learned while navigating brownfield redevelopment projects.
Both panel discussions will be held via zoom video conferencing.
Watch the RR Report and the RR Program Presentations & Trainings webpage for registration and additional information.
The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is accepting Statements of Qualifications (SOQs) to provide professional services to the DNR for the following Requests for Qualifications (RFQs):
- Federal Brownfields Assessment at Vapor Intrusion Priority Properties
- Federal Brownfields Assessment at Wisconsin Assessment Monies (WAM) Properties
- State Vapor Intrusion Zone Contract for Vapor Investigation and Mitigation Services
Interested consultants may choose to submit an SOQ to any or all of the RFQs.
Copies of the RFQs are available on the RR Program Public Notices webpage.
The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) maintains a public database of locations with remediation and redevelopment activities in Wisconsin.
The database is referred to as the DNR’s Bureau of Remediation and Redevelopment Tracking System on the web. A visual display of much of the information is available on the web-based mapping system, RR Sites Map.
Over 95,000 properties are in included in the database. Contaminated sites (i.e., the physical area of environmental contamination) affect properties in all counties and in approximately 95% of all cities, towns and villages in Wisconsin. The system includes links to numerous letters, reports and other information about the properties.
The DNR encourages local governmental units to use the database and RR Sites Map to identify contaminated and cleaned up properties within their communities. Information from the database and RR Sites Map may be useful to local governments when:
- Identifying potential health and safety concerns in the community
- Evaluating potential real estate transactions (e.g., conducting due diligence activities prior to the initiation of condemnation, tax foreclosure and other property acquisitions efforts)
- Considering issuance of permits or approving plans for development – this includes understanding the status of contamination at sites where the cleanup is complete because residual contamination may affect the allowed uses and redevelopment options for a property, or require ongoing maintenance (e.g., caps over contaminated areas)
- Reviewing proposed public works and utility projects to determine feasibility and whether contaminated material needs to be managed
- Understanding the status of the property within the cleanup process, including what types of contamination is present, what needs to be done to satisfy regulatory requirements, and who is responsible for completing the necessary work
DNR staff are also available to help. Local governments can contact a brownfields specialist or schedule a “Green Team” meeting with DNR to discuss specific properties.
For more information about how to use the database, go to https://dnr.wisconsin.gov/topic/Brownfields/botwHelp.html
Does your community have any run-down, tax delinquent or otherwise derelict properties that you would like to see get redeveloped? Is the reuse of these properties complicated by known or potential environmental contamination? If so, help is available.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) funds a national program run by Kansas State University that provides free assistance to help communities, tribes and nonprofit organizations get brownfield properties redeveloped.
The program is named the Technical Assistance for Brownfields program, or KSU TAB for short. Contact Beth Grigsby, KSU TAB Regional Coordinator, at 317-601-3839 or firstname.lastname@example.org to ask about and apply for services for your community.
KSU TAB Services Include:
- Help identifying and inventorying brownfields
- Strategic planning and redevelopment visioning
- Assistance in identifying stakeholders and partners
- Economic feasibility and sustainability analysis
- Educational workshops
- Community outreach and input
- Help in identifying funding sources
- Resource roundtables, funding strategies
- Review of grant applications
- Assistance with the use of the TAB EZ tool to write individual grant applications
- Help finding and evaluating environmental consultants
- Assistance with request for qualifications (RFQs), request for proposals (RFPs) and evaluation criteria
- Review of plans and technical reports
- Assistance with understanding results of Phase I, II environmental site assessment reports and cleanup plans
The DNR also has staff who can help your community with brownfield properties. More information and resources about brownfield redevelopment in Wisconsin is available on the DNR’s brownfields webpage or by contacting DNR brownfields staff.