US EPA

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.

Free, Professional Services To Help Your Community With Brownfield Properties

Does your community have any run-down, tax delinquent or otherwise derelict properties that you would like to see get redeveloped? Is the reuse of these properties complicated by known or potential environmental contamination? If so, help is available.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) funds a national program run by Kansas State University that provides free assistance to help communities, tribes and nonprofit organizations get brownfield properties redeveloped.

The program is named the Technical Assistance for Brownfields program, or KSU TAB for short. Contact Beth Grigsby, KSU TAB Regional Coordinator, at 317-601-3839 or bethgrigsbylpg@gmail.com to ask about and apply for services for your community.

KSU TAB Services Include:

  • Help identifying and inventorying brownfields
  • Strategic planning and redevelopment visioning
  • Assistance in identifying stakeholders and partners
  • Economic feasibility and sustainability analysis
  • Educational workshops
  • Community outreach and input
  • Help in identifying funding sources
  • Resource roundtables, funding strategies
  • Review of grant applications
  • Assistance with the use of the TAB EZ tool to write individual grant applications
  • Help finding and evaluating environmental consultants
  • Assistance with request for qualifications (RFQs), request for proposals (RFPs) and evaluation criteria
  • Review of plans and technical reports
  • Assistance with understanding results of Phase I, II environmental site assessment reports and cleanup plans

The DNR also has staff who can help your community with brownfield properties. More information and resources about brownfield redevelopment in Wisconsin is available on the DNR’s brownfields webpage or by contacting DNR brownfields staff.

DNR Awards Brownfields Grant To City Of Beaver Dam

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has awarded a Brownfields Grant to the City of Beaver Dam to assist with the investigation of potential environmental contamination at the site of a former auto dealership and repair shop.

The grant is from the DNR’s Wisconsin Assessment Monies program, which provides contractor services worth up to $35,000 for the environmental assessment of eligible brownfields sites.

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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 to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is now available.

The CERCLA Section 128(a) Grant Final Report, for the reporting period of Oct. 1, 2020 to Sept. 30, 2021, highlights work undertaken and completed within the latest funding year.

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Deadline For State Letter Of Acknowledgement For EPA MARC Grants Nov. 17

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is now accepting applications for FY22 Brownfields Multipurpose, Assessment, Revolving Loan Fund (RLF) & Cleanup (MARC) Grants. The deadline for applications is Dec. 1, 2021.

If your community or organization intends to apply for an FY22 MARC Grant, the U.S. EPA requires grant applicants – not including tribal entities – to obtain a state acknowledgement letter from the Wisconsin 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.

The DNR’s Remediation and Redevelopment (RR) Program suggests making your request for a state acknowledgement letter no later than Nov. 17, 2021 to allow staff adequate time to draft and deliver the letter.

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Now Available – Guidance: Wisconsin Vapor Quick Look-Up Table and History of Changes to Vapor Action Levels (VAL), Vapor Risk Screening Levels (VRSL) and Attenuation Factors (AF) for Common Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC) in Wisconsin

The publications Guidance: Wisconsin Vapor Quick Look-Up Table (RR-0136) and Guidance: History of Changes to Vapor Action Levels, Vapor Risk Screening Levels and Attenuation Factors for Common Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC) in Wisconsin (RR-0137) are now posted and available online.

The Guidance: Wisconsin Vapor Quick Look-Up Table (RR-0136) includes indoor air vapor action levels (VALs) and vapor risk screening levels (VRSLs) for volatile organic compounds frequently encountered at remediation sites. Important updates to note with the latest version include:

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Start Preparing Now for FY22 EPA Brownfield Grant Applications

The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is expected to release application guidelines for the FY22 Brownfield Multipurpose, Assessment, Revolving Loan Fund and Cleanup Grants competition in early September 2021. The EPA grants provide direct funding to local governments, redevelopment agencies, tribes, nonprofit organizations and other eligible entities. The grants may be utilized for brownfields assessment, cleanup, technical assistance and related activities.

Entities interested in applying for FY22 EPA Brownfield Grants should start getting ready now to apply. This national grant competition is highly competitive and the quality of your project plan and application materials is important.

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U.S. EPA’s Brownfields 2021 Conference Issues “Call for Ideas”

Organizers of Brownfields 2021, the National Brownfields Training Conference, are requesting your ideas and suggestions for the upcoming event to be held September 27-30, 2021, in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.

The National Brownfields Training Conference is attended by stakeholders focused on environmental revitalization and economic redevelopment.

The deadline to submit topic and speaker ideas is March 8, 2021.

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Upcoming EPA Webinar Opportunity: Supporting Redevelopment and Addressing the Superfund Liability Concerns of Local Governments

On January 22, 2021, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will host an online webinar addressing brownfields redevelopment and concerns that local governments may have over Superfund liability.

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