Cleanup

EPA Adopts New ASTM Standard For Phase I Environmental Site Assessments

On Dec. 15, 2022, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) published a final action to amend the EPA’s Standards and Practices for All Appropriate Inquiries (AAI) Rule. 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 rule takes effect Monday, Feb. 13, 2023.

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 (ESAs) 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.

More information about AAI requirements are available on the EPA Brownfields AAI webpage.

Review the Standards and Practices for AAI final rule on the Federal Register.

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 MollyE.Schmidt@Wisconsin.gov 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.

Public Input Opportunity – Five-Year Review of the Campmarina Superfund Site Upland Operable Unit

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is now seeking input on the Five-Year Review of the Campmarina Superfund Site Upland Operable Unit.

The public notice can be found at the Remediation and Redevelopment Program’s Public Notices & Guidance webpage under the “Public Notices” tab. Comments may be submitted through Oct. 31, 2022 to John Feeney at johnm.feeney@wisconsin.gov.

E-Pay Now Available for NAR/NFA; Other Updates to 4400-225

Last November the Notification for Hazardous Substance Discharge form (4400-225) was made into a fillable online form on the DNR’s RR program Submittal Portal webpage. This form should be used to report discharges that are identified through laboratory analysis of soil, sediment, vapor, indoor air and water.

The form now allows for payments by credit card for the request of No Action Required (NAR) determination under Wis. Admin. Code § NR 716.05 or a request for No Further Action (NFA) determination under Wis. Admin. Code § NR 708.09.

The form also includes clickable tabs so you can easily navigate to completed tabs without clicking multiple “next” and “back” buttons. This is particularly useful when returning to submit lab reports and navigating to the lab result tab to upload your files.

When submitting a request for an NAR or NFA determination, we encourage you to include the Technical Assistance, Environmental Liability Clarification or Post-Closure Modification Request form 4400-237 and any additional appropriate report(s) with your submittal.

Interstate Technology Regulatory Council Soil Background And Risk Assessment Training Videos Available Now

The Interstate Technology Regulatory Council (ITRC) Soil Background and Risk Assessment (SBR) training videos are now available on the ITRC’s YouTube Channel and showcase a new format for the ITRC short training videos. Two of the videos debuted in the June 2022 Internet-based training.

ITRC released four SBR training videos, which can be viewed in any order:

ITRC trainings help state environmental agencies and others to gain valuable technical knowledge and develop consistent regulatory approaches to protect human health and the environment.

 

Now Available: Publication RR-0136, Guidance: Wisconsin Vapor Quick Look-Up Table

Updated publication RR-0136, Guidance: Wisconsin Vapor Quick Look-Up Table, is now posted and available online.

The document can be found on the Vapor Intrusion for Environmental Professionals webpage. 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 document lists select volatile organic compounds frequently encountered at remediation sites; it is updated periodically based on updates to inhalation toxicity data. Consultants should compare vapor data for open sites to the updated table for potential additional actions and should routinely reference the webpage for the most recent version.

The basis for the U.S. EPA Regional Screening Levels were updated in May 2022; the update does not include revisions to action or screening levels.

Consultants should compare vapor data for chemicals not available on Wisconsin’s Vapor Quick Look-Up Table directly to the U.S. EPA’s Vapor Intrusion Screening Level Calculator; instructions are included on Wisconsin’s Vapor Quick Look-Up Table.

Site-specific questions regarding vapor intrusion in Wisconsin should be directed to the assigned DNR project manager. General questions can be directed to the contacts listed on the DNR’s Vapor Intrusion Resources for Environmental Professionals webpage.

NR 700 Reporting Due Jul. 30

Semi-annual reporting for the period of Jan. 1, 2022 to Jun. 30, 2022 is due by Jul. 30, 2022. 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 Bureau for Remediation and Redevelopment Tracking System (BRRTS) online database. Consultants may submit these reports on behalf of RPs.

The DNR will send an email with a unique Report Identification (ID) number to contacts of sites listed in the database during the first week of January 2022. If you do not receive an email by Jul. 7, 2022, you can request a Report ID number by submitting the Report ID Request Form.

The Report ID number uniquely identifies the activity you can report, the reporting period and verifies the person using the Report ID is authorized to submit the report. If you have any questions, please contact Tim Zeichert at Timothy.Zeichert@wisconsin.gov or 608-219-2240.

State law requires semi-annual reports from people who meet the definition of a responsible party in NR 700. 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 for those exempt properties under state law.

Sites formerly classified by the DNR as “conditionally closed” are open sites that have not been granted case closure and, by definition, have remaining action(s) needed (e.g., properly abandoning monitoring wells or investigative waste needing to be removed).

Semi-annual reporting for sites formerly classified as “conditionally closed” should indicate what actions are being taken to complete the remaining actions.

The next reporting period is from Jul. 1, 2022, to Dec. 31, 2022.

Now Available: Publication RR-502, Selecting an Environmental Consultant

Following a public comment period and consideration of the comments received, the publication RR-502, Selecting an Environmental Consultant, is now posted and available online.

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

The purpose of the guidance is to help responsible parties, local governments, developers, and others understand the key role that environmental consultants play in the assessment, investigation, and cleanup of contaminated properties in Wisconsin, and help these parties identify qualified consultants for their projects.

Questions regarding this document may be submitted to Barry Ashenfelter at Barry.Ashenfelter@wisconsin.gov

Now Available: Publication RR-060, Guidance For Management Of Contaminated Soil And Other Solid Wastes – Wis. Admin. Code §§ NR 718.12 and NR 718.15

Following a public comment period and consideration of the comments received, the publication RR-060, Guidance for Management of Contaminated Soil and Other Solid Wastes – Wis. Admin. Code §§ NR 718.12 and NR 718.15, is now posted and available online.

For this document, a sentence that referred to management of asbestos-containing materials on page 2 was removed. In addition, the NR 718 Approval and Process Options approval process for immediate actions involving contaminated soil was modified for clarification (page 5), and the locational requirements (page 12) were updated to include the requirement that a responsible party may not place or replace contaminated soil where it poses a threat to public health, safety, or welfare or the environment.

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.

This guidance is intended for use by responsible parties when excavating contaminated soil and other solid waste that may not warrant disposal at an operating, licensed landfill. This guidance describes several approvals that may be available in such situations.

Questions regarding this document may be submitted to Paul Grittner at Paul.Grittner@wisconsin.gov.

RR Program Makes Website Changes To Enhance Customer Service

The Remediation and Redevelopment (RR) Program has reconfigured its main landing pages and added redevelopment resources to the RR Sites Map to better serve our customers.

New And Improved Landing Pages

The RR Program oversees the investigation and cleanup of environmental contamination throughout the state and provides technical guidance and assistance to responsible parties and environmental professionals.

Equally, the RR Program helps local governments, prospective purchasers, lenders, developers and property owners understand and navigate the redevelopment and revitalization of brownfields, which are properties that are contaminated or suspected to be contaminated.

RR Program has reorganized its website using three separate topic-specific landing pages:

The new Environmental Contamination and Cleanup landing page is geared towards environmental professionals and includes direct links to numerous technical topics and links to the guidance and forms index, the RR Sites Map and the Bureau for Remediation and Redevelopment Tracking System (BRRTS). Environmental professionals should bookmark this new page designed specifically to provide links to the most-sought technical resources.

The Brownfields landing page serves as a toolbox for local governments, prospective purchasers, lenders, developers and property owners. It provides information on the basics of cleaning up and redeveloping a contaminated site and information regarding liability, financial resources, how to schedule Green Team meetings with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and success stories of brownfields redevelopment projects throughout the state.

The Spills landing page provides instruction on reporting hazardous substance spills and discharges in Wisconsin.

Further improvements include prominent links to the RR Submittal Portal and the RR Report newsfeed on each landing page. Users will also now find quick access to public input opportunities and a link to a new external advisory groups page.

Saved or bookmarked pages will continue to work seamlessly; these upgrades only affect the RR Program’s landing pages.

RR Sites Map

RR Sites Map is the RR Program’s GIS mapping application that provides information about remediation and redevelopment activities in Wisconsin. Recently, redevelopment resources were added to help users evaluate sites in relation to socioeconomic data, including links to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Superfund Redevelopment Mapper, the U.S. EPA Environmental Justice Screening and Mapping Tool and the Center for Disease Control/Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (CDC/ATSDR) Social Vulnerability Index. In addition, layers from the CDC/ATSDR Social Vulnerability Index are now available on the map (in the map and data tasks tab, select the layer catalog, then choose Non-DNR Data and Social/Cultural/Economic Information).

The RR Program welcomes your feedback on these improvements. Send your thoughts and suggestions to Jodie Peotter at jodie.peotter@wisconsin.gov.