VPLE

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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DNR and DHS Work Together to Improve Water Quality in Wisconsin

The Department of Natural Resources announced two new water quality initiatives as part of Governor Evers’ Year of Clean Drinking Water declaration for 2019.

This week the DNR worked with Department of Health Services (DHS) to ask the health agency to review 40 contaminants for possible groundwater quality standards. This work comes on the heels of the department asking DHS last spring to review an initial 27 contaminants, including two per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS). PFAS are a group of human-made chemicals that have been used for decades in numerous products, such as non-stick cookware, fast food wrappers, stain resistant sprays and firefighting foam.

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Public Input Opportunity: Implementation of Wis. Admin. Code chs. NR 749 and NR 750 Fees

The Remediation and Redevelopment (RR) Program seeks your input on a draft publication entitled “Implementation of Wis. Admin. Code Chs. NR 749 and NR 750 (RR-997)”.

The purpose of this document is to provide guidance for responsible parties, environmental consultants, and others who request technical assistance or oversight from the Department of Natural Resources’ RR Program. The guidance addresses fees for DNR oversight and assistance at sites regulated under Wis. Admin. Code chs. 700 – 754. Fees applicable to most cases are defined in Wis. Admin Code ch. NR 749. Fees for Voluntary Party Liability Exemption (VPLE) cases are defined in Wis. Admin. Code ch. NR 750.

The document can be reviewed at http://dnr.wi.gov/news/input/guidance.html and comments can be submitted through May 1, 2019 to the Fiscal and Information Technology Section Chief, Jenna Soyer, at Jenna.Soyer@wisconsin.gov.

NR 700–754 Rule Development Meeting on March 5, 2019

On March 5, 2019, the Remediation and Redevelopment (RR) program will host a meeting to provide information and seek input on the development of revisions to select provisions of Wis. Admin. Code chs. NR 700799, Environmental Protection – Investigation and Remediation of Environmental Contamination.

This meeting is part of a series of rule development meetings that the RR program will host as it develops proposed rule revisions. The March 5, 2019, meeting will include:

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DNR Interim Decision on Voluntary Party Liability Exemption (VPLE) Program and Emerging Contaminants

Wisconsin’s Voluntary Party Liability Exemption (VPLE) program allows a person to clean up a property and receive an exemption from future liability for historic contamination. Once cleanup is complete, the VPLE Certificate of Completion (COC) provides liability protection for the owner of the property. It is also transferrable to future owners. Since 1995, the DNR has issued 186 COCs. Eighty-three voluntary parties are currently pursuing a VPLE COC.

Recent concerns over emerging contaminants, particularly per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (“PFAS”) chemicals in Wisconsin and nationally have prompted the DNR to evaluate the potential for historical discharges of PFAS and other emerging contaminants at properties enrolled in the VPLE program that are pursuing a COC.

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A Nod to the DNR’s VPLE Program in Coverage of Oak Creek’s New Lake Vista Park

Natural Resources Board tours Oak Creek

Oak Creek City Attorney Larry Haskin addresses the media and members of the Natural Resources Board during an August 2017 tour of Lake Vista Park in Oak Creek.

The city of Oak Creek plans to officially unveil its newest park this summer. It’s a prime location of nearly 100-acres that overlooks Lake Michigan and is the former site of a chemical plant that left a history of contamination when it closed.

The decades-long environmental cleanup was completed in 2014 using the DNR’s Voluntary Party Liability Exemption (VPLE) program. The VPLE program provided an incentive for the industrial owner to complete a cleanup that allowed the city to transform this former lakefront industrial site into a stunning new park with majestic views of the nearby lake.

You can listen to the story by Milwaukee Public Radio.

For more information about the DNR’s VPLE program, please contact Michael.Prager@wisconsin.gov.

 

City of Oshkosh Completes Last Phase of Riverfront Brownfields Cleanup

In June 2017, the city of Oshkosh received the final Wisconsin DNR approval of the remediation of the former Mercury Marine facility on the Fox River. In 2006, the city acquired the closed facility from Mercury Marine with hopes to convert the property into a new and improved community asset. The city used EPA brownfields grants for assessment and cleanup work on the properties as well as state, city, and private funding.

Oshkosh Riverwalk

A new riverwalk provides additional community access to the waterfront.

This property housed industrial facilities since the mid-1800s. Past uses of the land include a lumber business, candle company, and a bulk fuel tank farm. The site was then owned by the Kiekhaefer Aeromarine Company who then sold it to Mercury Marine in the mid-1970s. A range of contamination types were identified at the site as well as several feet of waste fill across the entire property. Metals, petroleum contamination, and chlorinated compounds were identified in the soil and groundwater.

The city removed much of the contamination while using buildings and parking lots to serve as a cover over the residual contaminated soil. In addition, the cleanup included an innovative approach where they left one area of heavily contaminated soil under a newly created, city owned, small park. This park serves as a protective barrier, saves project funds and creates additional public green space. This park connects to a new public riverwalk and piers along the river. The city partnered with a private developer to build three high quality apartment buildings, two specifically for senior residents. The site went through the DNR’s Voluntary Party Liability Exemption (VPLE) program and received a Certificate of Completion in August 2017 which provides liability protections for current and future property owners.

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.

Updated Guidance Document: Frequently Asked Questions about the Voluntary Party Liability Exemption (VPLE)

The Remediation and Redevelopment Program has finalized a guidance document to help people using the Voluntary Party Liability Exemption program. The final version of the document, “Frequently Asked Questions about the Voluntary Party Liability Exemption (VPLE),” DNR publication RR-507, is now available. The VPLE program allows people to conduct an environmental investigation and cleanup of a contaminated property with DNR oversight and receive an exemption from future liability. This document provides detailed information about the VPLE program that has helped facilitate many successful brownfield remediation and redevelopment projects across Wisconsin.

The DNR response to public comments received about this guidance is also available. Questions should be directed to Michael Prager, 608-261-4927.

Updated VPLE Insurance Fees

The Voluntary Party Liability Exemption (VPLE) Insurance fee schedule (RR-661) is now updated and available on the DNR website. The VPLE program allows anyone to conduct an assessment and remedial action of an entire property with DNR oversight to obtain a liability exemption. Insurance is required for VPLE sites where groundwater contamination levels are above enforcement standards and the DNR determines that natural attenuation will restore groundwater quality.

The new insurance fees have gone down slightly and will be in effect until November 1, 2018. The application form, process, and the former use categories (commercial, light industrial, etc.) remain the same.

VPLE insurance is now provided through Ironshore Insurance Services. Any questions about this insurance requirement should be directed to Michael Prager, (608) 261-4927.