WAM

Now Available: Publication RR-0128, Green Team Assistance for Contaminated Properties

The publication RR-0128, Green Team Assistance for Contaminated Properties, is now posted and available online.

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.

The purpose of the guidance is to provide information about DNR’s Green Team meetings, which are an effective and efficient way for local governments to evaluate options, plan for and work through a brownfield project.

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

Brownfields Fundamentals: Cleanup Collaboration Leverages Funding

The benefits of cleaning up and redeveloping brownfield properties are significant. Returning underused and unsightly commercial and industrial properties back to productive use protects public health and promotes community vitality.

State and federal financial assistance for brownfield revitalization is available in many forms for local governments. The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) can help your community put all the pieces together, address environmental contamination and move these projects forward.

Gather Your Team

Once you identify one or more brownfield properties in your community that will likely sit empty for years without local government involvement, contact the DNR to request a Green Team meeting with brownfield specialists. The DNR staff can help your community in many ways, including:

  • Identifying property acquisition methods that give liability exemptions to local governments;
  • Managing liability concerns throughout the cleanup process;
  • Understanding the process of assessing, investigating and cleaning up brownfield properties; and
  • Identifying and explaining financial assistance options.

In addition to bringing the right people to the project conversation, a Green Team meeting will help your community understand how to get started and identify potential funding sources that work well together. Local governments can request as many Green Team meetings as needed to fully understand the technical cleanup path to site closure, and an adjacent funding strategy. The DNR understands that brownfield properties are a burden for local governments and wants to help repurpose these properties.

Assess Brownfield Properties With DNR Contractor Service Grants

Environmental assessment, performed by qualified private sector environmental professionals, is typically the first phase of the brownfield property remediation and reuse process. Financial assistance programs that are frequently paired are the Wisconsin Assessment Monies program (WAM), managed by the DNR, and the Site Assessment Grant (SAG) program, offered by the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC).

WAM is a contractor services award program that funds Phase I and Phase II environmental site assessments, up to $35,000. Limited site investigation work may also be funded at some properties. SAG funds environmental assessment and demolition activities.

When applications from local governments are timed right, funding sources can combine to provide broad coverage of environmental assessment needs. The DNR’s WAM award disbursements can also be used to meet WEDC’s SAG financial match requirements.

Clean Up Brownfield Properties With State Loans And Grants

Following site assessment and investigation activities at a property, cleanup work may be needed. With a good plan in place and consistent communication with the DNR, contamination cleanup funding sources can be secured by local governments and lined up to keep the work progressing without delay.

The DNR’s Ready for Reuse revolving loan fund program provides 0% interest-free loan funding for environmental remediation activities. In some situations, partial loan forgiveness is also possible.

The Brownfields Grant Program offered by WEDC can fund site investigation activities, remediation work and subsequent environmental monitoring.

Like the assessment funding programs, the DNR’s Ready for Reuse loans and WEDC’s Brownfields Grants complement each other to provide broad coverage of cleanup needs. They help keep remedial work progressing toward site closure and, when coordinated, can be leveraged to cover match requirements, which minimizes out of pocket expenses for local governments.

Cleaning up and redeveloping a brownfield property takes time, but with Green Team help from the DNR and the support of state financial partners, a successful redevelopment is possible. Many communities have effectively cleaned up and repurposed brownfield properties (see Brownfield Success Stories). The DNR is happy to help you and your community with your cleanup and redevelopment efforts. Request a Green Team meeting and start the conversation today!

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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DNR Awards Brownfields Grant To City Of Altoona

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) today announced the department awarded a Brownfields Grant to the City of Altoona.

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

Brownfields are abandoned, idle and underused commercial or industrial properties where reuse is stalled by potential contamination. Brownfields vary in size, location, age and past use; they can be anything from a 500-acre former automobile assembly plant to a small, abandoned gas station.

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DNR Awards Brownfields Grant To Village Of Johnson Creek

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) today announced the department awarded a Brownfields Grant to the Village of Johnson Creek.

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

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DNR Awards Brownfields Grant To City Of Bloomer

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) today announced the site of a former agricultural cooperative on the north side of the City of Bloomer is on its way to being cleaned up with help from a grant from the department.

The financial award is from the DNR’s Wisconsin Assessment Monies program, which provides contractor services worth up to $35,000 for eligible sites. The DNR awarded the grant to the city of Bloomer for a property that local officials say may be in a position for redevelopment once the environmental contamination at the property is better defined.

“Local officials will have the opportunity to market this property—located in an established industrial park—once they get more information regarding the contamination,” said Jodie Peotter, DNR Brownfields, Outreach and Policy Section Chief, Remediation and Redevelopment Program. “The city has already seen interest in the property.”

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DNR Awards Brownfields Grant To Village Of Clinton

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) announced the site where a former gas station that later served as a small engine repair shop in the Village of Clinton is on its way to being cleaned up with help from a grant from the department.

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 the Village of Clinton for the now-vacant property that is known to have some degree of contamination, though just how much contamination is unknown.

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DNR Awards Brownfields Grant Valued up to $35,000 to Grant County

An abandoned downtown property in Lancaster with a 25-year history of petroleum contamination is getting closer to being cleaned up and marketable to possible buyers with assistance from a brownfields grant from the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR).

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DNR Awards Brownfields Grant Valued up to $35,000 to City of Stoughton Redevelopment Authority

A blighted riverfront property in Stoughton is on the way to being cleaned up with assistance from a brownfields grant from the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR).

Continue reading “DNR Awards Brownfields Grant Valued up to $35,000 to City of Stoughton Redevelopment Authority”

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.