Resources for private parties
When a business or home owner encounters contamination on their property, there are a number of ways DNR can assist them. The DNR's Remediation and Redevelopment Program can offer liability assistance, fee-based technical services, and point out financial resources which may be able to cover some of the investigation and cleanup costs.
If you are unfamiliar with environmental response issues, a number of DNR publications are available to help clarify the basics of environmental contamination and the cleanup process. The Environmental cleanup and brownfields redevelopment topic also provides a wealth of information.
- Remediation and Redevelopment Program Brochure (RR-691) [PDF]
- Environmental Contamination Basics (RR-674) [PDF]
- Selecting an Environmental Consultant (RR-502) [PDF]
- Environmental Services Contractor List (RR-024) [PDF] - Self identified environmental consultants. This is not a certification or registration list. To be added to this list, please contact Jennifer Dorman.
When soil or groundwater contamination is discovered in a rural or urban area, one of the questions that homeowners may raise is whether such information will impact the market value of their property and if so, to what extent. The DNR publication Environmental Contamination & Your Real Estate (RR-973) [PDF] discusses the basic impacts of environmental contamination on property values.
Liability assistance and fee-based technical services
For the most part, investigations and cleanups of contaminated soil and groundwater are conducted by private environmental consultants who are hired by the responsible party. These actions are then reviewed by DNR staff.
The RR Program can also provide extra review services and technical assistance, for a fee. Popular fee-based services include:
- liability clarification letters – reviews who may be responsible for cleaning up contamination under Wisconsin's Spill Law;
- voluntary party liability exemption – allows participants to clean up a property to state standards and receive a "certificate of completion" which exempts the property owner from future liability for past contamination;
- off-site exemption letters – clarifies if a property owner is exempt from the requirement to remediate contamination in cases when it comes from an offsite source;
- lender liability exemption clarification letters; and
- building on an abandoned landfill exemption.
There are limited financial resources and tax incentives which can cover remediation costs. While some programs are only available to local governmental units, nonprofits and tribal groups, these financial resources should be investigated by private parties:
- Brownfield redevelopment assistance [exit DNR] – WEDC
- Site assessment grant [exit DNR] - WEDC
- New market tax credits [exit DNR] – WHEDA
- Petroleum Environmental Cleanup Fund Award – DNR
- U.S. Economic Development Administration [exit DNR] – Select financial programs can fund cleanup and redevelopment activities
- Wisconsin tax incentives (includes tax cancellation agreements) – DNR and county treasurers
- Wisconsin plant recovery initiative – DNR
Other financial resources can be located through the Financial Resource Guide for Cleanup and Redevelopment (RR-539) [PDF].