General Program Announcements

Employment Opportunity: Business Services Coordinator

The Remediation and Redevelopment Program is hiring a Business Services Coordinator (Natural Resource Program Specialist 1).

The deadline to apply for this position is July 25, 2018.

This position will serve as the financial and records specialist for the program in the Fiscal and IT Section, located in the central office (Madison), but with statewide responsibilities. Specifically, this position will work closely with the Contract Coordinator and Budget Manager on owner financial responsibility, contracting, billing, deductibles and liens; and with RR management on proper retention of records and fulfilling open records requests.

This position will also provide programmatic and policy support to the program directors and section chiefs.

EPA Solicitation for 2018 BUILD Act Comments

The Brownfields Utilization, Investment and Local Development (BUILD) Act was enacted on March 23, 2018 as part of the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2018. The BUILD Act reauthorized EPA’s Brownfields Program, and made amendments to the 2002 Small Business Liability Relief and Brownfields Revitalization Act.  Authorized changes affect brownfields grants, ownership and liability provisions, and state and tribal response programs. EPA is developing policy guidance to implement the BUILD Act.

https://www.epa.gov/brownfields/brownfields-broadcast

As part of this process, the EPA is soliciting comment on three provisions in the BUILD Act:

  1. The authority to increase the per-site cleanup grant amounts to $500,000;
  2. The new multi-purpose grant authority; and
  3. The new small community assistance grant authority.

Comments will be accepted through July 10, 2018 to BUILDAct@epa.gov.

NR 700 Semi-Annual Reporting Due Soon

Semi-annual reporting for the period of January 1, 2018 to June 30, 2018 is due July 31, 2018. Semi-annual reporting is required of responsible parties (RPs) for all “open” sites, including those sites the DNR formerly classified as “conditionally closed,” in the BRRTS online database. Consultants may submit these reports on behalf of the RPs.

An email from the DNR with your unique report identification number will go out on July 2, 2018. If you do not receive an email, you can request a number by submitting the Report ID Request Form. The Report ID number you will receive uniquely identifies the activity for which you wish to report, the reporting period, and verifies the person using the ID is authorized to submit the report. If you have any questions, please contact Tim Zeichert at (608) 266-5788.

Semi-annual reports are required by state law of persons who meet the definition of responsible party in NR 700. Therefore, property owners, such as local governments that have an exemption under Wis. Stats. §§292.11(9)(e) or 292.23 and lenders that have an exemption under Wis. Stats. §292.21 for specific properties are not required to submit a semi-annual report under state law for those exempt properties.

Sites formerly classified by the DNR as “conditionally closed” sites (e.g., investigative waste needs to be removed) are those that have not been granted case closure and, by definition, have remaining action(s) needed (e.g, properly abandoning monitoring wells). Semi-annual reporting for these otherwise open sites should indicate what actions are being taken to complete the remaining actions and when they’ll be taken.

This semi-annual reporting requirement replaces PECFA annual web reporting. Consultants and responsible parties were previously required to inform the agency of the progress and the estimated cost of work remaining in the investigation for PECFA-eligible sites. Now, submission of the semi-annual online form satisfies PECFA’s requirement to report progress. A separate PECFA web report is not required.

The next reporting period is from July 1, 2018 to December 31, 2018. Reports for that period will be due approximately January 31, 2019. A future RR Report will have specific details.

This information is also available on the RR Program website under “Audience-specific resources.”

Brownfields Study Group Celebrates 20 Years

Created in the state budget as a one-year project to help the governor, legislators and state agencies further understand the unique challenges of taking on the cleanup and redevelopment of contaminated properties, the Wisconsin Brownfields Study Group now celebrates 20 years as a state and national model for stakeholder involvement.

The group is comprised of local government officials, academia and representatives from the private sector, and is facilitated by Department of Natural Resources staff.

Continue reading “Brownfields Study Group Celebrates 20 Years”

Public Input Opportunity: PECFA Usual & Customary Schedule #24

The Remediation and Redevelopment (RR) Program seeks your input on the Usual & Customary (U&C) Task Reference Guide #24 (RR-100) and U&C Schedule #24 (RR-10a). Both documents are available on the Wisconsin DNR’s proposed program guidance web page.

Comments on these documents are due by June 25, 2018, and may be directed to Jenna.Soyer@wisconsin.gov.

Document updates include new tasks for vapor point installation, guidance on excavations over $10,000, and an update to private utility locate reimbursable costs. Please see the public comment cover sheet for details.

2018 Brownfields Conference for Local Governments a Success in Stevens Point

A crowd of nearly 100 people attended the Remediation and Redevelopment Program’s recent conference, Brownfields for Local Government Officials, held May 10, 2018 in Stevens Point.

The one-day conference spanned a host of land recycling issues, but did not include the technical topics often reserved for other events. Throughout the day, participants heard from developers, local government colleagues, and others about the tools and strategies to capitalize on underused, or even abandoned, properties.

The day began with an overview of the DNR’s Brownfields Program, including explanations of the financial aid and technical assistance that staff can provide. Other sessions included panel discussions with program staff (formerly private sector consultants) and with experienced developers familiar with the unique requirements of brownfields redevelopment.

Attendees also heard from local government leaders about devising county-wide redevelopment plans, state-assisted cost recovery mechanisms, and both state and federal brownfields assistance programs, including the Technical Assistance for Brownfields (TAB) program, a joint effort through the EPA and Kansas State University.

Conference presentations can be found in the program’s Training Library.

A similar conference will be held again in 2020.

Aug. 1, 2018 – EPA Brownfields Grant Writing Workshop in La Crosse

Join the DNR and Minnesota Brownfields on Aug. 1, 2018, in La Crosse, for a free, full-day workshop on writing successful EPA grant applications. Get the information you need to know to compete effectively for these funds, and get a head-start on your proposal for the fall grant opportunity.

Wisconsin communities, and the DNR, have been awarded millions of dollars in brownfields grant funds by the EPA over the past decade. It is clearly possible to obtain these dollars, but your grant application package has to be very good to stand out and get funded. Tips and strategies from experts will be shared at this workshop.

New federal legislation, referred to as the BUILD Act, makes changes to several aspects of brownfields law, including more clarity for local governments on how to obtain federal liability protections, and more flexibility in the EPA grant program. Learn about these changes and more.

Who should attend? Local and regional government officials, not-for-profit economic and community development organizations, tribes, and any other entity interested in applying for federal grants to assist with the assessment, cleanup, and redevelopment of under-performing commercial and industrial properties in their community.

More information about the workshop is available HERE, and a link to the registration form is available HERE (button near top-right of web page). We hope you can join us!

Consultant Qualification List

Please note that the “consultant data record form” mentioned in Wis. Admin. Code ch. NR 734 is no longer used to create a “consultant qualification list” for consultants interested in providing professional services to the department. Projects undertaken by the RR program using state funds follow State of Wisconsin procurement laws (i.e. simplified bidding, request for bids, request for qualifications, and requests for proposals depending on the project type and scope), and these requests are posted on VendorNet for all consultants. The RR program does maintain a list of consultants who self-identify as those who are available to provide environmental services (RR-024). This list is available to the public. If you would like to be added to this list, please contact Deena Kinney at Deena.kinney@wisconsin.gov.

Clarification on Closure Packet Revision Submittals

The RR Program would like to clarify that when submitting revisions to a closure submittal as requested by the DNR project manager, the consultant need only submit the revised pages (both paper and electronic copies) to the DNR project manager and the regional email box. This will save both the consultant and DNR project manager time in reviewing only the necessary information. In order to ensure that revisions are properly tracked, consultants are asked to initial and date all pages of any revisions submitted. Guidance for Submitting Documents (RR-690) was updated to reflect this clarification (Case Closure Submittals #6 on page 3).

A Nod to the DNR’s VPLE Program in Coverage of Oak Creek’s New Lake Vista Park

Natural Resources Board tours Oak Creek

Oak Creek City Attorney Larry Haskin addresses the media and members of the Natural Resources Board during an August 2017 tour of Lake Vista Park in Oak Creek.

The city of Oak Creek plans to officially unveil its newest park this summer. It’s a prime location of nearly 100-acres that overlooks Lake Michigan and is the former site of a chemical plant that left a history of contamination when it closed.

The decades-long environmental cleanup was completed in 2014 using the DNR’s Voluntary Party Liability Exemption (VPLE) program. The VPLE program provided an incentive for the industrial owner to complete a cleanup that allowed the city to transform this former lakefront industrial site into a stunning new park with majestic views of the nearby lake.

You can listen to the story by Milwaukee Public Radio.

For more information about the DNR’s VPLE program, please contact Michael.Prager@wisconsin.gov.