Brownfields

DNR Awards $336,000 in WAM Funds to Nine Wisconsin Communities

Brownfields cleanup projects in nine communities across the state have gained momentum in recent weeks with the granting of awards worth a total of $336,000 from the Department of Natural Resources. The help comes from the DNR’s Wisconsin Assessment Monies (WAM) program, which provides grants to eligible recipients in the form of contractor services to investigate potential soil or groundwater contamination at the site.

The communities that have received recent awards include Allouez, Appleton, Eleva, Janesville, Marinette, Prairie du Chien, Stoughton, Watertown and Winneconne.

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Nov. 19 Deadline for State Letter of Acknowledgment for EPA ARC Grants

If your community or organization intends to apply for an EPA 2020 Assessment, Revolving Loan Fund or Cleanup (ARC) Grant, EPA requires grant applicants, excluding tribal environmental authorities, to obtain a letter from the Wisconsin DNR acknowledging that the state is aware the applicant is applying for a federal grant to conduct brownfield assessment, revolving loan fund or cleanup activities.

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Brownfields Technical Assistance Available to Communities

A series of EPA webinars will present information on how to include no-cost brownfields technical expertise in your next brownfields project. The webinars will be held July 16,17, and 31.

EPA’s Brownfields and Land Revitalization Program funds several expert organizations to support your efforts to assess, cleanup and reuse brownfield sites in your community.

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No Changes to VPLE Review Fee for Fiscal Year 2020

The Remediation and Redevelopment Program has calculated the hourly review fee for sites in the Voluntary Party Liability Exemption (VPLE) program.

The rate will not change for this upcoming fiscal year; it will continue to be $105 dollars an hour for state fiscal year 2020 which began on July 1, 2019 and ends on June 30, 2020. This has been the rate since July of 2014.

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EPA brownfield grant applications may be due earlier this fall. Start working on yours soon.

DNR has learned that U.S. EPA may require FY20 brownfield grant applications to be submitted earlier than usual this year, so the grant process doesn’t overlap with preparations or participation at the 2019 National Brownfields Training Conference in Los Angeles, CA, December 11–13. There is no official decision yet, but release of the grant proposal guidelines and the subsequent proposal deadline could be moved up several weeks or more.

It is our understanding that the multipurpose grants available in the last round may not be offered this fall. It sounds like multipurpose and revolving loan fund (RLF) grants could alternate rounds and only be available bi-annually. If so, FY20 RLF grants should be available this fall.

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TAB webinar to address community engagement

If your community is challenged by the “engagement” requirement as part of your federal brownfield grant, the National Technical Assistance for Brownfields and the Technical Assistance to Brownfields (TAB) Program at Kansas State University are teaming up to help you out.

A webinar on Thursday, July 18 will cover various community engagement topics for new (or recent) ARC Grant award recipients. It’s free to join in, but registration is required to ensure your connection. Click here to register. If you have questions or need assistance, please contact Blake Belanger or Sheree Walsh.

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EPA Awards 2019 MAC Grants to Wisconsin Communities

The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has awarded $3.69 million in Multipurpose, Assessment, and Cleanup (MAC) brownfields grants to seven Wisconsin communities.

Grants awarded by the EPA’s Brownfield Program provide communities across Wisconsin and the country with an opportunity to transform contaminated sites into community assets that attract jobs and achieve broader economic development outcomes while taking advantage of existing infrastructure. In many cases, brownfields grants have been shown to not only increase local tax revenue, but to also have a positive impact on residential property values.

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New brownfields handbook available from EPA

The Office of Brownfields and Land Revitalization in the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has published a new (June 2019) handbook titled, “Anatomy of Brownfields Redevelopment.” This 14-page publication is available at https://www.epa.gov/sites/production/files/2015-09/documents/anat_bf_redev_101106.pdf.

The handbook provides a good overview of the issues, challenges, and opportunities associated with old and unproductive commercial and industrial properties that may have environmental contamination. It also describes various process steps and best practices for local governments to consider when taking on a brownfield property.

More Wisconsin-specific brownfield cleanup and reuse information is available from DNR at https://dnr.wi.gov/topic/Brownfields/ and https://dnr.wi.gov/topic/Brownfields/lgu.html and https://dnr.wi.gov/topic/brownfields/GreenTeam.html.

RR Program Web and IT Updates

The Remediation and Redevelopment (RR) Program has created a new web page for contaminated soil and sediment, and recently completed additional webpage updates.

The new contaminated soil and sediment web page contains guidance and instructions on the soil RCL calculator and information about alternative soil assessments, soil and materials management under Wis. Admin. Code ch. NR 718, historic fill exemptions, contaminated sediments, PCBs in soil, smear zone contamination, and biodegradation as a remedial action.

If you already have Resources for Environmental Professionals bookmarked, a link to the new webpage can be found in the “Related Links” section, as well as at the top of that page for a limited time.

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