General Program Announcements

Updating the Environmental Services Contractor List

One of the Remediation and Redevelopment Program’s many publications is the Environmental Services Contractors List, (DNR publication RR-024).

This is a self-identifying list of environmental consultants that the Program maintains and makes available on its “resources for private parties” web page. Also, staff provide this document to people if they ask for a consultant recommendation.

To have your consulting firm added to the document, or to update information that’s already there, please contact Deena Kinney. In your email, provide the following:

  • Name of firm
  • Address
  • City, state, zip code
  • Phone number
  • Fax number (if applicable)

Staff cull the list if they are aware of firm closings, consolidations, or other significant changes. If your contact information requires updating, please let us know.

Brownfields Study Group Meeting September 28

The Wisconsin Brownfields Study Group will meet on September 28, 2018 in Madison. The meeting will be held at the Dane County UW-Extension building from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. An agenda for the meeting is posted on the group’s web page.

The Study Group meeting is open to the public; no RSVP is necessary.

The Study Group celebrates its 20th anniversary in 2018. It was created by the State Legislature to help the DNR develop solutions and strategies to increase the number of contaminated properties that were cleaned up and returned to productive use. The group meets a few times a year and has members from the private sector, local governments, non-profits and others.

If you have questions about this meeting or the Study Group, please contact Mick Skwarok, (608) 266-9263.

Internet Explorer Browser is the Solution to Your “Fillable PDF Forms” Problem

The Wisconsin DNR – including the Remediation and Redevelopment Program – uses a variety of “fillable PDF forms” to collect information from customers. However, these Adobe PDF fillable forms are not compatible with many internet browsers, except for Microsoft Internet Explorer.

If you are unable to open any of the DNR’s fillable forms (for example, the Case Closure form), you can likely resolve the issue by changing your internet browser to Internet Explorer. There is currently no issue with opening publications and other non-fillable PDF documents in other browsers.

The conflict is between Adobe and non-Internet Explorer browsers. Some Internet browsers use a PDF viewer that does not support fillable PDF forms. In particular, Chrome, Microsoft Edge, and Safari generally use their own version of PDF viewers rather than Adobe’s. Using Microsoft Internet Explorer [exit DNR] version 10 or higher will usually resolve the issue.

Also, please note that fillable PDF forms are only supported on desktop versions of Internet Explorer 10. Those forms will not work with mobile devices.

To complete and save all PDF forms provided on the DNR’s website, please be sure your device is running Adobe Reader [exit DNR] version 8 or higher.

Additional information is on the DNR’s Portable Document Format web page.

Fund for Lake Michigan Now Accepting Pre-Proposals

The Fund for Lake Michigan is now accepting pre-proposals for its Fall 2018 grant period.

Pre-Proposals are due on or before September 24, 2018. The proposals must be submitted through the Fund’s online grants management system. Invitations to submit full proposals will be sent out in October.

The Fund for Lake Michigan is seeking projects that enhance the health of Lake Michigan and its tributaries through habitat restoration, pollutant reduction, stream restoration and improvements to coastal areas in Wisconsin.

Grants are made only to 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations and to governmental agencies. Geographically, Fund for Lake Michigan grants are targeted to the Lake Michigan shoreline, near shore areas and watersheds within the Lake Michigan basin in Wisconsin. The Fund for Lake Michigan will also consider a small number of grants outside the Lake Michigan watershed and within the Madison Gas and Electric’s service territory.

Question about the program or the grant process can be directed to Casey Eggleson.

RR Program Phasing Out the Term “GIS Registry”

The words “GIS Registry” were removed from such popular Remediation and Redevelopment (RR) Program resources as RR Sites Map, BRRTS on the Web (BOTW), and the Case Closure Form (please note that the content and requirements of the Case Closure form did not change).

This is a deliberate and ongoing effort by the RR Program to update the outdated term “GIS Registry.” Instead, you may see or hear staff refer to the “Continuing Obligations Packet” (formerly the GIS Registry Packet), “database fees” instead of GIS fees, or “the database,” when discussing where to find information about sites with continuing obligations.

Regardless of how it’s stated, all sites with residual contamination and/or continuing obligations are required to be listed on the Wisconsin Remediation and Redevelopment Database (WRRD), comprised of BOTW and RR Sites Map.

In the coming months, RR Program staff will continue to remove “GIS Registry” from our forms and documents. Most of the RR Program web pages are already updated. If you have any questions please contact Jenna Soyer, the Fiscal and Information Technology section chief, at 608-267-2465 or Jenna.Soyer@wisconsin.gov.

Two Hydrogeologist Positions Open in Northeast DNR Office

The DNR’s Remediation and Redevelopment (RR) Program has two Hydrogeologist positions to fill in the Northeast office, located in Green Bay. The positions will be filled at either the entry level or senior level, depending on the position and the candidate’s qualifications.

See job announcement for details on position descriptions and how to apply. The deadline to apply for either position is August 30, 2018.

The candidate for the senior level position will provide geologic and hydrogeologic expertise and oversight for investigation and remediation of contamination sites. The candidate will provide interpretation and implementation advice on the rules, regulations and guidance documents concerning environmental investigations and clean-ups as well as brownfield redevelopment efforts. Duties include evaluating and approving work on complex sites often having program-wide policy impacts.

The candidate for the entry level position will provide technical advice and recommendations regarding environmental programs to management, co-workers, other Department programs, State agencies, local communities and the public. The primary duty and responsibility of this position is to support and provide recommendations to the RR Program at the regional level. There are two entry level positions to choose from: with or without the limited responsibility of back up Regional Spill Coordinator for the RR Program.

Two Employment Opportunities: Vapor Intrusion and Sediment Team Leader Positions Open

The Wisconsin DNR seeks to fill two positions with the Remediation and Redevelopment (RR) Program: Sediment Team Leader and Vapor Intrusion Team Leader.

The deadline to apply for the Sediment Team Leader position is August 20, 2018.

The deadline to apply for the Vapor Intrusion Team Leader position is August 21, 2018 

Sediment Team Leader – This technical position is responsible for providing critical sediment related expertise in the Policy and Technical Resources Section of the RR Program. This person functions as an RR Program expert on assessment of sediment investigation and remediation, leading the Integrated Sediment Team, establishing clean up goals, ensuring consistent use of caps and covers to address contaminated sediment, establishing continuing obligations related to sediments, and developing policy related to all aspects of contaminated sediments.

Vapor Intrusion Team Leader – This advanced technical position serves as the RR Program’s lead worker and team leader for assessment of vapor intrusion, mitigation to address vapor exposure pathways, and development of policy related to all aspects of vapor intrusion. This person will also lead the program in assessment, mitigation, remediation and policy development related to emerging contaminants. This person develops and interprets administrative rules, guidance documents, and technical documents related to the assessment, mitigation and remediation of vapor phase contamination, evaluation and implementation of remedial technologies to address chlorinated solvents, other vapor sources, and emerging contaminant impacts.

The position announcements for the Sediment Team Leader and Vapor Intrusion Team Leader jobs contain additional information.

Updated Case Closure Reconsideration Guidance Now Available

The RR Program recently updated the fact sheet Wis. Admin. Code ch. NR 726 Case Closure Reconsideration Process (RR-102). The DNR’s responses to comments received during the public comment period for the draft are available on the DNR website until August 20, 2018.

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.

More information about case closure is available on the DNR’s web page, Resources for Environmental Professionals.

Environmental Liability Exemptions for Local Governments – Related to Redevelopment

Counties, cities, villages and towns, along with RDAs, CDAs, other local governmental units, can fairly easily obtain environmental liability exemptions, civil immunity, and cost recovery authority in Wisconsin when taking title to unproductive/abandoned industrial and commercial properties.

These protections are explicitly authorized by multiple sections in Wis. Statutes Ch. 292, and are designed to enable local governments to take action to stimulate redevelopment activities at contaminated or potentially contaminated properties when the private market is not providing enough capital and economic activity to achieve the desired level of community improvement on its own.

Remediation and Redevelopment Program staff are available to help local government officials understand and use these robust statutory tools, as well as identify financial assistance opportunities for environmental investigation and cleanup work. The DNR’s Green Team meetings are a good way to get started on your first, or next, redevelopment project.

The DNR publication Local Government Environmental Liability Exemptions in Wisconsin (RR-055) provides an overview of several local government environmental liability exemptions, and lists types of documentation that the DNR typically requests to confirm that the exemption is in effect.

Racine to Use DNR Brownfield Assessment Funds to Aid Uptown Redevelopment

Efforts to assess possible contamination at a decades-old industrial site in Racine’s uptown area will get a boost with a recently issued brownfields grant from the Department of Natural Resources.

The award comes from the DNR Wisconsin Assessment Monies (WAM) program, and will provide for contractor services worth approximately $20,000. The work will help the Redevelopment Authority of the City of Racine (RDA) assess possible contamination, leading to a potential cleanup and eventual reuse of the site.

Brownfields site in Racine.

Racine assessed this brownfield site in the uptown area with help from a WAM award worth $20,000 in contractor services.

The nearly one-acre site on 13th Street has a long history of various industrial uses. It was most recently the site of a laundry service for the health care and hospitality industries. Historic records from the Racine Fire Department indicate that a 500-gallon underground fuel oil tank was located on or near the property.

With the RDA ready to promote the property, an investigation of the environmental conditions on the site will help put the group in a better position of securing a buyer and returning the site to productive economic status.

“As Racine continues to redevelop former industrial sites, the DNR is proud to be part of the city’s future,” said Christine Haag, chief of the DNR brownfields section. “This WAM grant could be just the leverage that the RDA needs to help turn this property around and get it on track for the next generation of use.”

Administered by the DNR 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. Environmental Protection Agency brownfields assessment grant.

Participation in the WAM program requires minimal effort by local governments. Because there is no financial match or project administration involved, the program is an attractive opportunity for communities. 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 can be submitted for WAM awards at any time. Properties eligible for funding include closed or closing manufacturing plants, or vacant land with a history of manufacturing.

For more information, contact Tom Coogan at 608-267-7560 or Thomas.Coogan@wisconsin.gov.