Brownfields

Wisconsin DNR Offers Environmental Compliance Roadmap – All state laws and regulations remain in effect

Wisconsin DNR Environmental Compliance Roadmap

Under Gov. Evers’ Safer at Home order the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources will prioritize responding to imminent threats or complaints related to public health, safety and the environment over routine, on-site audits and inspections.

The regulated community can go here for a one-stop location to request case-by-case assistance due to likely compliance issues associated with COVID-19. All state laws and regulations remain in effect, unless otherwise suspended by the governor.

The DNR is committed to doing what we can to help those impacted by COVID-19 while continuing to protect environmental quality, public health and safety. The DNR is sensitive to the challenges posed to its regulated community, such as wastewater and air permittees and landfill license holders.

All entities should make every effort to comply with their environmental compliance obligations. Where full compliance may not be possible due to COVID-19, the DNR created an environmental compliance roadmap for regulated entities.

The DNR advises businesses or local governments having a spill or a compliance problem that poses an imminent or actual threat to health or the environment to report it immediately by calling toll free 1-800-943-0003 and selecting “1.” This number is monitored 24 hours a day.

For non-emergency situations, the DNR is providing this online process as a means for the regulated entities to request advance compliance assistance from the DNR. This process should be initiated by directly emailing the main DNR contact for the facility or by using the online web form to request case-by-case compliance assistance.

The DNR will monitor these systems daily during regular business hours. Where safe compliance alternatives are approved in advance by the DNR, regulated entities will be required to maintain records adequate to document implementation of authorized alternative compliance options.

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources continues to receive the most up-to-date information and will adjust operations as conditions change. Distance is key during this public health emergency.

Under the Safer at Home order, we must do all that we can to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Staying home as much as possible and limiting travel to your community is the best way to lower COVID-19 infection rates.

This is a rapidly evolving situation. For the latest updates, visit the DNR website or follow @WIDNR on Facebook, @wi_dnr on Instagram, or @WDNR on Twitter.

For specific information regarding the COVID-19 we encourage the public to frequently monitor the DHS website for updates, and to follow @DHSWI on Facebook and Twitter, or dhs.wi on Instagram. Additional information can be found on the CDC website.

 

WAM Awards Granted to Langlade County and Antigo for Cooperative Project

Two brownfields cleanup projects in Antigo are getting financial assistance in the form of grants from the Department of Natural Resources.

The financial awards come from the DNR’s Wisconsin Assessment Monies (WAM) program, which provides contractor services worth up to $35,000 for eligible sites. The DNR awarded the grants to the city of Antigo and Langlade County for two neighboring sites near the intersection of Edison Street and 1st Avenue.

“DNR is proud to partner with the city of Antigo and Langlade County as they work to address environmental concerns associated with these two properties,” said DNR Remediation and Redevelopment Program’s Brownfields, Outreach and Policy Section Chief Jodie Peotter. “Often, WAM grants are able to kick-start a project and may be used as leverage against other grants or loans.”

The neighboring properties that were awarded grants face each other from opposite sides of 1st Avenue. The southern property, located at 915 1st Avenue, is occupied by a vacant building that was formerly Care Partners Assisted Living. The vacant building is being considered for future use as a sober living facility for women. The second property that will receive a grant is located across 1st Avenue to the north at 1020 Edison Street. Redevelopment is anticipated to include a similar sober living facility for men.

Both properties are located along an abandoned railroad yard and maintenance facility that was discontinued from service in the late 1970s. The grants for contractor services will help Antigo and Langlade County officials determine whether environmental contamination exists at the properties.

Since 2009, the WAM program has provided more than $2.5 million to 61 communities across the state, partnering to help clean up and redevelop old, often run-down or underused properties that distract from a community’s potential.

Administered by the DNR’s 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. EPA brownfields assessment grant.

Participation in the WAM program requires minimal effort by local governments. Because there is no local financial match, WAM is an attractive opportunity for communities to gain knowledge of environmental conditions. 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 for WAM assistance may be submitted at any time. The DNR uses WAM funding to assess brownfields throughout the state, concentrating on industrial sites and closed, or closing, manufacturing plants. WAM awards are also made for sites that may not have had a history of manufacturing but are in rural areas, racially diverse communities or economically disadvantaged areas.

For more information about WAM or other cleanup award programs from the RR Program, visit the DNR’s WAM webpage or the brownfields webpage.

 

Calumet County Receives WAM Award for Site Near Chilton

A brownfields cleanup project near Chilton is getting financial assistance in the form of a grant from the Department of Natural Resources.

The financial award comes from the DNR’s Wisconsin Assessment Monies (WAM) program, which provides contractor services worth up to $35,000 for eligible sites. The DNR awarded the grant to Calumet County for the former Stoeger’s Plating Service/T&M Plating Service, LLC site near Chilton.

“DNR is proud to partner with Calumet County as officials work to clean up this property,” said DNR Remediation and Redevelopment Program’s Brownfields, Outreach and Policy Section Chief Jodie Peotter. “Often, the time and expense of looking into potential environmental contamination is daunting for local governments. An award like this can be very helpful to communities that take on the task of redeveloping brownfields.”

The site, located at N3503 Highway 55 near Chilton, was a cheese factory before it was purchased by the Stoeger family in 1971. The Stoeger family ran an antique store until the late 1990s, when they transferred the nearly two-acre property to their sons. The sons operated a plating business at the site for much of the early 2000s. The property eventually became tax delinquent; Calumet County acquired the site through tax foreclosure proceedings in March of last year.

After the county acquired the property, the U.S. EPA completed the removal of 100 drums and other containers of hazardous materials that were left behind when the building was vacated. Potential environmental issues related to the plating business and other historical site uses require additional environmental investigation. The WAM grant for contractor services will help Calumet County investigate whether environmental contamination exists at the property.

Since 2009, the WAM program has now provided more than $2.5 million to 60 communities across the state, partnering to help clean up and redevelop old, often run-down or underused properties that distract from a community’s potential.

Administered by the DNR’s 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. EPA brownfields assessment grant.

Participation in the WAM program requires minimal effort by local governments. Because there is no local financial match, WAM is an attractive opportunity for communities to gain knowledge of environmental conditions. 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 for WAM assistance may be submitted at any time. The DNR uses WAM funding to assess brownfields throughout the state, concentrating on industrial sites and closed, or closing, manufacturing plants. WAM awards are also made for sites that may not have had a history of manufacturing but are in rural areas, racially diverse communities or economically disadvantaged areas.

For more information about WAM or other cleanup award programs from the RR Program, visit the DNR’s WAM webpage or the brownfields webpage.

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.

Continue reading “DNR Awards $336,000 in WAM Funds to Nine Wisconsin Communities”

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.

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

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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