Brownfield Redevelopment Open House For Local Governments On April 24, 2024

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) will hold a brownfield redevelopment open house for local governments on Wednesday, April 24, 2024. 

A brownfield is a property where expansion, redevelopment or reuse is complicated by real or potential contamination. Brownfields vary in size, location, age and past use; they can be anything from a 500-acre former automobile assembly plant to a small, abandoned gas station.  

The open house will focus on resources available to local governments for redevelopment of brownfield properties into community assets, including funding, liability and other tools and assistance available from the DNR.    

Staff from the DNR and Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) will be available for questions and discussions on brownfield resources as well as due diligence in the acquisition of brownfield properties and how to locate information about contaminated sites.   

Local government officials interested in learning more about brownfield redevelopment in Wisconsin are encouraged to attend.   

April 24, 2024
10 a.m. – noon 

DNR Spooner Service Center 
Community Room 112
810 W Maple St.
Spooner, WI   

Attendees should RSVP to by April 18, 2024.   

Unable to attend but interested in learning how cleaning up brownfields can help your community? The DNR’s series of on-demand Brownfields Fundamentals webinars cover planning, cleanup, liability, and other topics as part of a well-rounded crash course in Wisconsin brownfield redevelopment.   

The DNR has a wide range of financial and liability tools available to help local governments, businesses, lenders, and others clean up and redevelop brownfields in Wisconsin, including Ready for Reuse financial awards, which may be used for environmental cleanup. DNR staff around the state are available to meet with community leaders, bankers, developers and private individuals to discuss brownfield projects through Green Team meetings.   

More information about the DNR’s brownfield cleanup programs and services is available on the DNR’s brownfields webpage.   

Updates To The RR Presentations & Training Library

Brownfields Fundamentals logo which is a photo of an old white building with broken windows transitioning into a sketch drawing of a new apartment complex. The words brownfields fundmentals are at the bottom of the image.The Remediation and Redevelopment (RR) Program provides up-to-date and quality presentations and trainings on a variety of technical and educational topics for environmental professionals, local governments, community organizations, members of the public and others.

The RR Program Presentations & Training Library webpage has added a dedicated section for the Brownfields Fundamentals series. The articles, webinars and panel discussions are designed to provide valuable brownfields cleanup and redevelopment information and resources to local governments and their communities.

RR Program Trainings

  • Brownfields Fundamentals
  • Issues & Trends – Quarterly Zoom webinars providing information on a variety of topics such as DNR and RR Program updates, Wisconsin Administrative rulemaking information, environmental contamination and cleanup and more.
  • Consultants’ Days – Coming to a region near you in 2024! A day-long conference designed for environmental professionals focused on providing presentations, demonstrations, and discussions on environmental cleanup laws, best practices, compliance and guidance. The accordion contains presentations from past conferences.
  • Local Government Days — A day-long conference for local government officials on brownfields redevelopment. This accordion contains presentations from past conferences.

A list of upcoming presentations and trainings is available on the RR Program Presentations & Trainings webpage. If there is a topic you would like addressed in a future webinar, please email

KSU TAB Offers “Preparing For Brownfields Grants With Clean Energy Reuse In Mind” Workshop Series

Kansas State University’s Technical Assistance to Brownfields program (KSU TAB) is offering a four-part workshop series starting Oct. 3, 2023: “Preparing for Brownfields Grants with Clean Energy Reuse in Mind.”

What Can You Expect?

  • Each virtual workshop will be interactive and engaging and is designed to build on each of the previous workshops; it is strongly encouraged participants attend all sessions.
  • Gain strategies for incorporating clean energy reuse into EPA brownfields grants due Nov. 13, 2023.
  • Learn about funding and financing options for clean energy projects.

This miniseries will start with general education and tips for grant preparation and then progress into more tailored feedback on specific plans and applications. The first three workshops will focus on preparing for the EPA brownfields grants and how to include clean energy as a reuse for some sites. The final workshop will be after the Nov. 13, 2023 EPA brownfields grant deadline and focus on broader funding and financing strategies for brightfields projects.

Who Is This For?
This cohort is specifically tailored to local governments and others interested in pursuing EPA brownfields grants and other state and federal funding for clean energy reuse. While it’s beneficial to have one or more sites in mind for assessment, cleanup and/or reuse, it’s not a requirement for participation. Participants must be from public or non-profit entities and located within EPA Regions 5, 6, 7 or 8 (Map of EPA Region) and Tribal communities.


  • What: Preparing for Brownfields Grants with Clean Energy Reuse in Mind, a series of four workshops
  • When: Starting Oct. 3, 2023 and ending December 2023
  • Where: All workshops will be hosted virtually via Zoom
  • Cost: None
  • Register: More details and registration links are available on the KSU TAB brightfields projects webpage.

Now Available: Publication Brownfields Redevelopment in Wisconsin (RR-933)

Following a public comment period, the publication Brownfields Redevelopment in Wisconsin (RR-933) is now posted and available online.

The document can be found here. Additional documents and guidance from the Remediation and Redevelopment Program may be found using the search tools available on the publications and forms webpage.

The purpose of the guidance is to provide a definition of brownfield and provide essential steps and resources for successful redevelopment of brownfield properties.

Questions regarding this document may be submitted to Michael Prager at

NEW EPA Resources For All Appropriate Inquiries (AAI)

In Feb. 2023, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA) published a final rule to amend the EPA’s Standards and Practices for All Appropriate Inquiries (AAI). The new rule allows the use of ASTM International Designation E1527–21, Standard Practice for Environmental Site Assessments: Phase I Environmental Site Assessment Process, to satisfy AAI requirements.

The EPA recently published several new resources that address the new ASTM standard for Phase I Environmental Site Assessments (E1527-21):

AAI is a process of evaluating the environmental conditions and assessing potential liability for contamination at a property and is completed prior to a property transaction. Satisfying AAI is one of the requirements for the innocent landowner, contiguous property owner, or bona fide prospective purchaser limitations on Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) liability.

The amended AAI rule allows parties acquiring properties to use the most up-to-date industry standard practice for Phase I Environmental Site Assessments to comply with the AAI Rule requirements. It also allows the previous standard practice, ASTM Designation E1527-13, to be used for one year after publication of the rule.

Brownfields 2023 Conference Travel Scholarships Available

Are you part of a community group, non-profit organization, environmental justice group or other organization that is interested in attending the 2023 National Brownfields Training Conference, Aug. 8-11, 2023 in Detroit, Michigan?

Travel scholarships might be available to you! Travel scholarships include registration fees and housing for four nights. Limited scholarships are available – the deadline to apply is May 17 at 11:59 p.m. Access the application and additional information on the Brownfields 2023 Travel Scholarship webpage.

What is the benefit of attending the 2023 National Brownfields Training Conference?

The brownfields conference is a platform to connect and learn best practices of cleanup and reuse of contaminated properties from a variety of industry stakeholders. The theme of this year’s conference is “Sustainable Communities Start Here,” which will cover topics such as financing, liability, community engagement, and the latest brownfields technologies and strategies. The 180 sessions, workshops, and networking events are curated to help you gain inspiration and strategies for revitalizing communities, catalyzing economic growth, restoring the environment and protecting the public health.

When: Aug. 8-11, 2023
Where: Hunting Place, Detroit, Michigan
More information available on the Brownfields 2023 website.

EPA Offers Brownfields 101 Training

The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Region 5 will offer online training about Brownfields 101.

Brownfields 101 – April 11, 2023, 9:30-11 a.m. CST

This training will cover brownfields basics, assessing environmental conditions, and ownership and management. Register online.

Access additional information, resources, and materials about EPA Region 5 (Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, and Wisconsin) on the Brownfields and Land Revitalization in EPA Region 5 website.

Remediation and Redevelopment Program 128(a) Year-End Report Available

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.

State Acknowledgement Letter for EPA Grants: State Deadline & New EPA Requirement

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 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.

NAR Activities Now Available on RR Sites Map

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).