Success stories

Certificate of Completion Issued for Large Madison Brownfield

Sign at Royster Clark Property with contact information and list of financial supporters.

The Royster Clark project benefited from several financial incentives including the DNR’s Ready for Reuse program.

After more than 200 environmental reports and approvals over the course of ten years, the Wisconsin DNR issued a final Certificate of Completion for the former Royster-Clark facility in Madison. The Certificate of Completion was issued in March 2017 when the Wisconsin DNR approved the final investigation and remedial action and provided a liability exemption through the Voluntary Party Liability Exemption (VPLE) program.

The 27 acre Royster-Clark facility was once a fertilizer factory operating from 1952 until it closed in 2006. In 2011, Ruedebusch Development and Construction (RDC), a Madison-based real estate developer, purchased the property and took on the task of cleanup and redevelopment of the unique project.

The cleanup included contamination from leaking underground storage tanks and the excavation of more than 50,000 tons of nitrogen-contaminated soil removed from the site. The property went through extensive meetings, planning and approvals from the neighborhood association and the city of Madison. The redevelopment, some of which is already complete, includes affordable housing, market rate apartments, and commercial development, including a new public library branch and potential grocery store. The project also includes 50+ lots ready for single family homes.

The cleanup project benefited from several financial incentives including the Wisconsin DNR’s Ready for Reuse program, which is funded through a RLF brownfields grant from the EPA, Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation grants, and funding from the city of Madison.

FY 16-17 Remediation and Redevelopment Program 128(a) Mid-Year Report Complete

Mid Year Report 128a FY 16-17 Cover

The DNR submits reports twice a year to EPA on the use of brownfields grant funds to enhance its state response program and to fulfill public record requirements.

The RR Program’s mid-year report to the EPA, which details outputs and outcomes funded by a federal grant, is now available for review. The Section 128(a) Grant Mid-Year Report, for the reporting period of September 1, 2016 to February 28, 2017, highlights work completed in the first half of the funding year.

Since 2003, the RR Program has consistently and efficiently used these funds under a cooperative agreement with the EPA to enhance state efforts with brownfields cleanup and redevelopment. Previous reports can be found on the Brownfields Program web page.


DNR Secretary Tours Merrill Brownfields

Merrill Brownfields Tour

In the photo are (L to R): Christine Haag, DNR; David Johnson, City of Merrill; Ken Maule, Merrill Area Development Corporation; DNR Sec. Stepp; John Robinson, DNR; Marie Steenlage, WEDC; Gary Hartwig, Merrill Area Development Corporation; Tim Weber, WEDC; John Gozdzialski, DNR.

Wisconsin DNR Sec. Cathy Stepp (center) leads a “Cabinet on the Road” tour of Merrill, Wis. The group paused for a photo in front of the River Bend Trail, a bicycling and walking path that winds its way along the Wisconsin River and passes through a handful of brownfield cleanup sites that the City and DNR have teamed up to address, including the former Hurd Manufacturing property.

Gov. Scott Walker kicked off the Cabinet on the Road series last July as a way for the administration to hear directly from citizens about important matters affecting their communities.

DNR Brownfields “Annual Accomplishments” Report Available

The RR Program’s annual brownfields accomplishments report to US EPA, which details outputs and outcomes funded by a federal grant, is now available. The Section 128(a) Grant Final Accomplishments Report, for the reporting period of September 1, 2015 to August 31, 2016, highlights work completed in past the funding year. Since 2003, the RR Program has consistently and efficiently used these funds to enhance state efforts with brownfields cleanup and redevelopment.

Previous 128(a) reports can be found on the Brownfields Program webpage.

Cleanup and Redevelopment in the NRB Spotlight in Ashland

Cleanup and Redevelopment in the NRB Spotlight in Ashland

Northern Region RR Program Team Supervisor John Robinson provides members of the Natural Resources Board with an update on the cleanup work at the Ashland/NSP Superfund site during the Board’s August 2-3, 2016 tour and meeting in northern Wisconsin.

Natural Resources Board members got an up close look at the Northern States Power (NSP) Superfund site during the Board’s August meeting and tour in Ashland. DNR and the US EPA have been managing work on this lakefront site since contamination was discovered in the late 1980s. Phase I of the cleanup was completed in 2014, with groundwater monitoring continuing for several years. Phase II includes cleaning up impacted sediment from near the shoreline, with a “wet dredge” pilot project underway and scheduled to be completed later this year.

During the Board’s formal meeting on the second day of its visit, DNR Sec. Cathy Stepp announced that the City of Ashland had officially received a mix of brownfields redevelopment awards totaling nearly $450,000. The awards, from DNR’s Ready for Reuse and Wisconsin Assessment Monies programs were provided to help the community assess and clean up several properties and get them ready for redevelopment. Read the full press release.


DNR Brownfields Program Releases New Video Highlighting Cleanup and Redevelopment Successes

The DNR brownfields program is pleased to present “Beans & Brew,” a seven-minute video highlighting the remediation and redevelopment efforts undertaken by Milwaukee’s Colectivo Coffee and the Potosi Brewery. These two stories highlight the impressive impact of collaboration between private industry, local public sector supporters and the DNR.

Over 20 years of experience has shown that cleanups are both possible and profitable. The environment and the economy can benefit together, as confirmed by a recent UW-Whitewater study.

Beans & Brew is the brownfields program’s most recent video to highlight a successful cleanup and redevelopment project in Wisconsin. Other videos can be seen on the agency’s YouTube channel. Write-ups on these and 101 additional successful redevelopment stories are available at

RR Program Successes Highlighted in Agency Report

Take a bow, RR Program, your FY2015 successes and milestones are front and center in the latest Annual Report from DNR’s Air, Waste, and Remediation and Redevelopment (AWaRe) Division. The 29-page report examines and highlights program successes in customer service, new laws and regulations, emerging and ongoing issues, and measuring program performance.Report Cover

During the reporting period, the RR Program celebrated its 20th anniversary. Since 1995, staff have worked with partners across the state, helping to clean up more than 15,000 brownfield properties and returning more than 20,000 acres back into productive use. The program marked the anniversary by continuing to work with our external advisory partner, the Wisconsin Brownfields Study Group, to create its 2015 Report – Investing in Wisconsin, which outlines proposals that will make a strong program even better.

Other RR notables in the Division Report include updates on major redevelopments in the Fox Valley and Madison, RR efforts to help clean up the former Badger ammo plant, and outreach achievements that help keep our partners and stakeholders informed and involved.

The Division’s commitment to service excellence was demonstrated by the fact that 97% of our customers who completed our survey indicated they were very satisfied or satisfied with the service they received from staff.

This is the AWaRe Division’s final annual report. The Division has merged with several DNR water programs and has formed the new Environmental Management Division.